How Latvian citizens abroad voted for the country’s European Parliament representatives may never be known, because their ballots were mixed in with those of prisoners who also voted by mail, according to the Central Election Commission in Rīga.
Before the June 6 election, a total of 1,532 requests for absentee ballots were received from abroad, according to the election commission. By 10 p.m. June 6, when polls closed in Latvia, just 1,096 completed ballots from abroad had been received in Rīga. However, the total number of mail ballots counted in the election is much greater: 4,079.
“In this election incarcerated voters could also participate in the European Parliament election by mail,” election commission spokeswoman Kristīne Bērziņa told Latvians Online in an e-mail. The mailed ballots from prisoners were put in the same box with mailed ballots from citizens abroad. Ballots within in a specific precinct are not allowed to be divided into separate groups.
All mail ballots were processed in Precinct 999 in Rīga, which was set up just for that purpose.
“As a result, it is not possible to determine how exactly voters abroad voted,” Bērziņa said.
What the results do show is that among all mail ballots in the European Parliament election, 19.29 percent of the vote went for the socialdemocratic Harmony Centre (Saskaņas Centrs). The pro-Russian For Human Rights in United Latvia (Par cilvēka tiesībām vienotā Latvijā) came in second with 17.48 percent. Third was the reformist Civil Union (Pilsoniskā savienība) with 16.52 percent of the vote.
Overall provisional results for the Europarliament vote showed that Civil Union came out on top, earning two seats plus one “phantom” seat, while Harmony Centre came in second and earned two seats, according to the election commission. In all, Latvian voters elected eight members of the European Parliament plus one “phantom” representative.
Other results for the mailed ballots showed New Era (Jaunais laiks) with 9.63 percent; the First Party of Latvia (Latvijas Pirmā partija / Latvijas ceļš), 5.66 percent; For Fatherland and Freedom (Tēvzemei un Brīvībai / LNNK), 4.49 percent; the Union of Greens and Farmers (Zaļo un Zemnieku apvienība), 4.36 percent; the People’s Party (Tautas partija), 3.46 percent; the Latvian Socialdemocratic Workers’ Party (Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā strādnieku partija), 3.36 percent); Visu Latvijai! (All for Latvia), 3.04 percent; For the Motherland (Par Dzimteni), 2.89 percent; the Society for a Different Politics (Sabiedrība citai politikai), 2.43 percent; Libertas.lv, 1.89 percent; the Osipov Party (Osipova partija), 1.67 percent; the Renaissance Party of Latvia (Latvijas Atdzimšanas partija), 0.98 percent; the Christian Democratic Union (Kristīgi demokrātiskā savienība), 0.91 percent; and the Action Party (Rīcības partija), 0.66 percent.
(Updated with explanatory text in second paragraph and with total number of completed ballots received from abroad.)
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