What changes after the Latvian election?

The liberal-conservative party Jaunā Vienotība (New Unity) under the former head of government Krišjānis Kariņš has won the parliamentary elections in Latvia and is now exploring coalition options. The largest opposition party for eight years, Harmony, which was supported by Latvians of Russian origin, emerged weakened, while the newly founded pro-Russian party For Stability! won eleven seats.

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Postimees (EE) /

New faces thanks to exemplary voting system

Postimees admires the system of open lists in the neighbouring country:

“Almost two-thirds of the members of parliament have been replaced - unimaginable in Estonia. We must bear in mind a peculiarity of the Latvian electoral system. When casting their ballots for a party voters can slide the individual candidates up the list with a plus sign or down by crossing them out. The advantage of the Latvian system is that it is not as easy as elsewhere for very contradictory and socially divisive politicians to succeed.”

Latvijas Avīze (LV) /

Not a radical turnaround

Latvijas avīze sees a certain stability in Latvian politics despite the fact that a large number of MPs and parties have been replaced:

“One cannot speak of a radical turn in Latvian politics but rather of tectonic shifts in certain sectors or - as many are saying, 'bubbles': Russian, populist, liberal and conservative. Some of these bubbles have flattened a little, others have lost their usual shape, but none have burst or become overinflated.”

Neatkarīgā (LV) /

Mistaken about Russian minority

Neatkarīgā looks at why Harmony, until now the largest opposition party and long the most popular among ethnic Russian voters, has collapsed:

“After 24 February, 'Harmony' lost its way and lost track of the world in which its voters live and of what they think. It was clear that a large proportion of Latvian ethnic Russians was pro-Putin, but there were hopes that there was also another porportion of Russians who no longer sympathise with the Kremlin's policies. 'Harmony' hoped that there would be voters who oppose Russian aggression in Ukraine. Unfortunately, too many Russian-speaking Latvian citizens continue to support Russian aggression in Ukraine.”