The general election held in Latvia was interesting for several reasons. It was firstly influenced by Russia’s conflict with Ukraine and the divisions that resulted within the country’s substantial majority ethnic Russian minority. This led to a major move away from the pro-Moscow side which is so well-liked by this group of people. It is an immensely beneficial development for Latvia. This election shows that Latvians want to move of their Soviet history to an European future. It is also an indication of how Latvians have united their efforts to safeguard their nation’s autonomy and sovereignty regardless of Russia’s pressures.
1. What is the reason for the popularity of Latvia’s centrist parties during the recent elections to the Latvian parliament?
Latvia’s recent elections to the parliamentary saw an overwhelming victory for the center-right Unity party, led by the Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma. This came in spite of a very strong competition from the extreme right-wing National Alliance, which had won the majority of polls prior to the vote. There are several aspects that contribute to the growth of centrist political groups in Latvia. For one, Latvia’s economy has been doing well, growing by around 4.4% annually during 2015. This increases the likelihood that voters will support the current government. In addition, it is the National Alliance has been involved with several scandals within the last few times that have damaged its image.
2. What was the impact of Russia’s war with Ukraine, and the divisions in Latvia’s Russian-speaking minority, have on election results?
At the most recent general election in Latvia and the Latvian party of the incumbent prime minister, Laimdota Straujuma, came out on top. The result of the vote was influenced by the Russian war in Ukraine, and the divisions in the Latvian ethnic Russian minority. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine resulted in tensions growing between Russia and Western countries, which had an adverse effect on Latvia. To defend Latvia from Russia, there were an increase in Latvian citizens thinking that the country ought to be closer to NATO as well as the West. It was this increased support for Straujuma Parties, which are supportive of closer ties to the West.
The Latvian election results reveal that there’s a divide across the country on what to do about Russia. The ruling party has taken an aggressive stance towards Russia’s opposition, the pro-Moscow party fell in surveys. Latvia’s post-Soviet identity is at danger.