Emergency election result in Latvia 2011

In September 17,  a first time in Latvian history an emergency elections have taken place. The main reason behind it was decision  by ex-president Valdis Zatlers to dismiss the parliament. The official reason was his dissatisfaction with parliament vote that prevented the anti corruption service to make a search parliament in deputy Ainars Šlesers    apartment. Šlesers has been widely known as oligarch with large influence on business and state matters. The ones who voted against the search was members of the Green Farmers Union, Šlesers own party and members of pro-Russian Harmony Center. By this the parliament got itself in conflict with juridical power. Another reason was the unacceptable influence by the major of town Ventspils Aivars Lembergs, who is the leader of Green Farmers Union. In 2010, election Green Farmers scored 22 seats enough to have key vote in any parliament. They joined with party union Unity to make a two-party government.  It was soon apparent that Lembergs pushed a lot of pressure against Unity prime minister Valdis Dombrovskis. Disagreements were on budget issues, pensions and other business matters. So when Valdis Zatlers dismissed the parliament his main slogan was to fight against oligarch rule. That was the official reason, behind was the many speculations of Zatler’s personal motives. He made this move just days before his re-election, in Latvia president is elected by the parliament. It was very likely that parliament may vote against him, so he made the move to avenge the parliament and start his own political carrier. Before he took his seat he was a well known surgeon and he was proposed by the same oligarch parties that he know stood against it. And he really founded his own party and took part in elections. Another more vile reason was Valdis Zatlers desire to bring the Harmony Center in government instead of Green Farmers Union. Hours before his decision he had a conversation with parliament speaker Solvita Aboltiņa (Unity) where he may had asked for this, but when he was turned down he issued new elections so the Harmony Center may win the elections.

The result of his move, was referendum by the people to dismiss the parliament (president only has right to ask people to dismiss the parliament) with 94% for the motion. Then was a short election campaign from August to September. A new force in the election was Zatlers Reform Party. He first desired to involve well-known people from intellectual circles, but when they all decided to not to enter politics, he gathered a large crowd of less known people and ex members of other parties. His proposed candidate for Prime Minister Edmunds Sprūdžs was moderate business man and with only secondary school education. Other parties attempted to gather strength to beat Zatlers party, Unity was the main looser behind the foundation of Zatlers party since they had common ideology and it meant voter theft. Aivars Lembergs was confident to hinder the campaign against him, but more desperate was Ainārs Šlesers who renamed his party as Šlesers Reform party to fight against Zatlers. Two opposite sided parties the National Alliance VL!/TBLNNK a far right party and pro-Russian far left party Harmony Center prepared to take the biggest slice of cake. Harmony Center prepared to win elections, but National Alliance had chance to gain even more power in parliament.

In so the election result goes as follows: Harmony Center won with 28% voters support. Second came Zatlers Reform Party with 20% support. Last election winner Unity was thrown at third place with 18% of votes. The fourth place was taken by the National Alliance with 13% voters support. Green Farmers Union gained 12% of votes and was the last that made above 5% barrier. Šlesers Reform party gained only 2% of votes bringing a devastating defeat for Šlešers. Other minor parties only reached below 1% of support. Because of regular pre-election ratings the parties who do not reach 5% barrier are less reported in media therefore given in lame position from the start. None of these ratings share the real opinion of the voters, so the bias in the ratings are always apparent. For the instance ratings showed that National Alliance would have only 6,5% of the voters support, but in reality the real vote count was much larger. The success of the National Alliance was the main surprise in these elections.

In next common weeks, it will be a question who will the form the government. By the tradition the election winner has right to form the government. But only the president has rights to propose the candidate. The new president Andris Bērziņš has always been mysterious about his moves and may make some surprises. It is possible to form a government with out the Harmony Center by joining Zatlers party, Unity and National Alliance. However will the Latvian parties would continue to stir up the Russian voters? And will the liberal parties would work together with nationalist conservative National Alliance? In last elections excuses were made to not include both Harmony Center and National Alliance in the parliament. While Harmony Center has trouble with acknowledging the occupation of Latvia and drop down the bid for two official languages, the National Alliance is accused of being too radical to be in government in EU member country.

The election results are historic, in first time since 1991, a pro-Russian party with official support by Russian Federation may have a chance to lead the country. However the Latvian parties still has enough power to play their part and prevent Latvia from switching from West to East and make a two language state. If only Latvian electorate would not be so divided by the parties. Zatlers Reform party is one of the reasons behind it that divides Latvian voters. An old fashioned way of divide and conquer has been well-played by Russia in Latvia, and Latvia could be the first state in Baltic region that may fall for it.  It is only the matter of will of Latvian people to protect their culture, language and national interests to prevent this.

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