Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Latvia Election Leads To Poll Success For Pro-Russia Party

Posted by Info on 17/09/2011

A pro-Russia party could emerge big winner in Latvia’s snap election today.In the past 20 years since Latvian independence no party catering to ethnic Russians – who make up approximately one-third of Latvia’s 2.2 million people – has had a role in national government.

Polls show that the leftist Harmony Centre now controls 29 opposition seats in the 100-member parliament.
Harmony Centre politicians refuse to acknowledge that Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union for a half-century after the second world war. Usakovs has admitted that the Baltic states – Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania – were only “illegally incorporated”.

To circumvent the delicate subject, Usakovs, the first ethnic Russian mayor of Riga, Latvia’s capital, has proposed a three-year ban on discussing history – or until the next general election in 2014. Prime minister Dombrovskis, however, has rejected the idea and insisted that Harmony recognize Latvia’s occupation before it can enter government.

Saturday’s vote is extraordinary, coming less than one year after a scheduled election that was regarded as a show of support for the current leadership, which has struggled to rescue Latvia from deep recession.

Unemployment remains stubbornly high – 16.2%, – and tens of thousands of people have left the country to find jobs elsewhere.
A recent poll conducted by Latvijas Fakti for the Baltic News Service shows that nearly 21% of voters are prepared to cast their ballots for Harmony Center.

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