Latvia holds its 2022 parliamentary elections today.
Candidates will compete for 100 seats in the unicameral parliament, known as the Saeima. Latvians will vote on party lists and can rank candidates within said lists to further influence who receives seat. Parties must get five percent of the vote to enter parliament, and members serve for four years.
Latvian politics has been fractious in recent years. Current Prime Minister Krisjanis Karin’s center-right Jauna Vienotiba (JV) party leads in the polls with around 20% support, but not enough for a majority. Therefore, JV will most likely form a coalition government with right-wing populist National Alliance. Further complicating the coalition formation, however, is the expected poor performance of traditionally pro-Russian parties in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Given the near certainty of a coalition government, expect a gap between elections and government formation. JV will likely win the most seats and will likely try to maintain its center-right coalition. As a result, Latvia will likely continue implementing anti-Russia policies, limiting Russian in schools and public discourse. Likewise, policies like more defense spending, energy integration with Europe and green energy development to distance itself from an immediate Russian threat are equally likely.
Wescott is a Copy-Editor and Senior Analyst. His thematic focuses are international security, politics, economics and public policy.