Voters in Latvia who went to bed Oct. 7 without having taken a last look at parliamentary election results woke up Oct. 8 to learn that not all that much has changed. Although the numbers have shifted slightly, the ruling center-right coalition appears to have maintained power and will get to form yet another government.
Provisional results showed that Tautas partija (People’s Party), the party of current Prime Minister Aigars Kalvītis, has increased its share of the 100-member parliament by three seats and can look forward to holding 23 places in the 9th Saeima, according to media reports and election results posted by the Central Election Commission.
Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība (Greens and Farmers Union), another member of the current ruling coalition, will get 18 seats, as will Jaunais laiks (New Era). Jaunais laiks, whose star has been steadily sinking in the polls, saw its influence in parliament cut by almost a third. And despite its earlier unwillingness to play with some members of the coalition, Jaunais laiks now says it may be ready to work with other center-right parties—especially if it gets to be part of the coalition.
The left-leaning Saskaņas Centrs (Harmony Centre), one of two parties in the new parliament viewed as friendly to Latvia’s Russian-speaking minority, doubled its influence and is expected to take 17 seats.
The right-wing Latvijas Pirmā partija, a coalition member that joined forces in this election with the former centrist powerhouse Latvijas Ceļš (Latvia’s Way), will hold on to 10 seats, a decrease of three places. The conservative Tēvzemei un Brīvībai / LNNK (For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK), should earn eight seats, one more than it currently has.
The heavily-Russian and leftist party Par cilvēka tiesībam vienotā Latvijā (For Human Rights in United Latvia) will hold on to its six seats.
In the current or 8th parliament, Jaunais laiks holds 24 seats; Tautas partija, 20; Latvijas Pirmā partija, 13; Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība, 13; Saskaņas centrs, 8; Tēvzemei un Brīvībai / LNNK, 7; PCTVL, 6, and Latvijas Sociālistiskā partija, 5. Four members of parliament are independent.
With all 1,006 districts in Latvia and abroad reporting by 1:37 p.m. local time in Latvia, Tautas partija had earned 19.49 percent of the vote; Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība, 16.69 percent; Jaunais laiks, 16.38 percent; Saskaņas Centrs, 14.42 percent; Latvijas Pirmā partija and Latvijas Ceļš, 8.59 percent; TB/LNNK, 6.95 percent, and PCTVL, 6.02 percent.
Under the Latvian electoral system, parties must earn at least 5 percent of the vote to get seats in the parliament. Which candidates actually got seats in the parliament will be clear in about three weeks, the Central Election Commission said. Ballots first need to be reviewed and notation made of candidates whose names were crossed out or who earned addtional points by voters adding a “+” next to a name.
Voters abroad disagreed with those in Latvia, giving nearly 38 percent of their ballots to Jaunais laiks, 17 percent to TB/LNNK and just under 14 percent to Tautas partija. A total of 7,530 ballots were cast at 53 polling stations abroad, with 7,490 of those counting as valid, according to provisional results compiled by the Central Election Commission in Rīga.
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