Latvia's ruling coalition wins election

Centre-right coalition wins Sunday's polls after taking a hard line against former ruler Russia in Ukraine.

    Latvia's ruling coalition wins election
    The Unity Party, the biggest in the coalition, wants current prime minister Straujuma to continue [AFP]

    Latvia's ruling centre-right has won a clear majority in its general election, after taking a hard line over the actions of Russia, its neighbour and former ruler, in Ukraine.

    The centre-right coalition comprising the Unity party, the Nationalist Alliance and the Union of Greens and Farmers, which has pushed for deeper political integration within Europe and more support from NATO to counter Russia, won around 58 percent support with 98 percent of votes counted, results showed.

    Victory on Sunday for the centre-right in the Baltic state, which will take over the presidency of the EU next year, brings a sigh of relief from many worried the pro-Russian Concord party might gain power and give Russian president Vladimir Putin a friendly voice in the EU.

    The Concord party, heavily supported by the ethnic Russians who make up almost 21 percent of voters, was the biggest single party with 23.3 percent, according to figures from the electoral commission.

    "Putting the current votes for the coalition in the preliminary results together, it [the coalition] has convincingly acquired a majority," Latvia's president Andris Berzins, said on local television.

    Berzins said he will sound out all the parties in a week's time and, based on those discussions, will name a new prime minister.

    'Russian aggression'

    The Unity party, the Nationalist Alliance and the Union of Greens and Farmers fought the election as separate parties but said they would continue to govern together if they got enough support in the election.

    "Taking into account the number of mandates, the logic would be that the previous coalition ... would together agree on who creates this government, who leads it and what are the ares of responsibility," Artis Kampars, Unity party secretary general said.

    "We are ready to continue this work." He said his party, the biggest in the coalition, wanted current prime minister, Laimdota Straujuma, to continue in her job.

    The Concord party had called for Russian to become Latvia's second official language and did not back a recent parliamentary resolution supporting Ukraine against "Russian aggression".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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