The centre-right New Unity (JV) party of current Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins became the largest in the Latvian elections on Sunday. The party won 18.9 percent of the vote, followed by the cooperating opposition parties the Greens and the Boer Party with 12.8 percent. The current coalition, after tallying 97 percent of the vote, was less than half of the 100 seats in the Latvian parliament, forcing Karins to look for additional support for a new majority government.
Also read: For or against Putin: the Russian community in Latvia must choose
The run-up to the elections was mainly dominated by the war in Ukraine and concerns about Latvia’s national security, with aggressor Russia as its neighbour. New Unity strongly opposes the Russian invasion and is in favor of a united Europe. Karins emphasized the importance of international cooperation on Sunday: “What comes first is how we get through the winter, not just in Latvia but across the EU. We must stand behind Ukraine and not look away from the problems ahead.”
Pro-Russian parties in the country, where about a quarter of the population belongs to the Russian minority, saw the number of votes decrease sharply compared to the previous elections. The Harmony party, still the largest in 2018 with 20 percent of the vote, tumbled to 4.8 percent – not enough to pass the electoral threshold. During the campaign, Harmony refused to condemn the war and Putin outright. Other pro-Russian parties also failed to secure a seat in the Latvian parliament.