Pro-Russia Parties Trounced

War in Ukraine shaped Latvia's election
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2022 2:50 PM CDT
Pro-Russia Parties Fall in Latvia
Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins speaks to the media Saturday in Riga while awaiting the results of parliament elections.   (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov)

Latvia's government will remain in pro-Western hands after voters delivered a victory to Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins while firmly rejecting parties supportive of Russia. Official results released Sunday appeared to show that the Harmony party, historically backed by Russian-speaking voters, had not won a single seat in parliament. Harmony won the most votes in 2018, the last election, but the other parties shut it out of the government. Karins' New Unity party came in first in Saturday's election, with 19% of the vote, Reuters reports. Karin had said he'd keep the same coalition government in place if his party won, per the AP.

Although about 30% of Latvia's population consists of Russian speakers, only one party tied to them cleared the minimum for inclusion in the next parliament, with 6.75% of the vote, per France24. The results keep Latvia, along with neighboring Lithuania and Estonia, positioned to continue to pressure the European Union to take a strong stance against Russia. The invasion of Ukraine has many in Latvia, which also belongs to NATO, more concerned about Russian expansionism. "I am 83 years old, I lived through Soviet and German military occupations," one voter said Saturday, adding, "I am today making my choice depending on which party supports Ukraine the most against the Russian invasion." (Read more Latvia stories.)

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