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Latvia’s ruling party wins parliamentary election

The liberal-conservative ruling New Unity (JV) party of Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš has come out on top of the parliamentary elections in the EU and NATO country of Latvia.

Riga, 2 October 2022 (dpa/MIA) — The liberal-conservative ruling New Unity (JV) party of Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš has come out on top of the parliamentary elections in the EU and NATO country of Latvia.

With 18.9% of the votes, the party emerged as the winner, data from the electoral commission in Riga showed on Sunday after counting in almost 95% of all polling stations.

The JV — like many European Christian Democratic parties, France’s Republicans, Italy’s Forza Italy and the Austrian People’s Party — belongs to the European People’s Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament.

Saturday’s election was overshadowed by Russia’s war on Ukraine and concerns about rising energy costs.

The opposition Alliance of Farmers and Greens came second with 12.8%, ahead of the newly formed electoral alliance United List with 11%.

Of Kariņš’ three coalition partners, only one is reported to have made it into parliament: the national-conservative National Alliance, which garnered 9.3% support.

Meanwhile, while the Conservatives clearly failed to clear the 5% hurdle, the liberal party Development/For! (AP!) is just above it.

With the counting of the remaining votes in the Baltic Sea republic, the balance of power could still shift.

The opposition social democratic party Harmony party in particular is counting on this: Usually a strong political force, so far is currently stands at only 4.8%. The party, whose core voters come mainly from the Russian minority and who won the most votes in each of the last elections, is the big loser of this election.

A total of eight parties made it into the unicameral parliament, the Saeima. In addition to the United List, there are three other new groups.

After casting his vote, Kariņš expressed his willingness to lead the upcoming government. However, difficult coalition negotiations were expected.

The election campaign was dominated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its effects. Many citizens in the country of 1.9 million residents are also concerned about the sharp rise in energy prices and soaring inflation.

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