Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Latvia: Ethnic Russians Won The Largest Number Of Votes In Parliamentary Elections

Posted by Info on 07/10/2014

October 5 : The Harmony party, suported mainly by ethnic Russians and led by the mayor of Riga, Nil Ushakov, won 23% of the votes in the elections, while the coalition of three current ruling parties had 56% between them.

The results will give Harmony 25 seats in Latvia’s 100-seat parliament, six fewer than before when they were also the largest single party in parliament. Other parties were reluctant to enter a coalition with what is seen as the “Russian party”.

A third of Latvia’s population is Russian-speaking, but about 290,000 are “non-citizens” of the country (14% of the population), holding special passports that bar them from voting and hold any public office. They have the right to a non-citizen passport issued by the Latvian government as well as other specific rights. Outside the EU, numerous countries allow visa-free travel for Latvian citizens but not for non-citizens.

In order to become citizens, they have to take an exam on Latvian culture and history. Latvian authorities say is necessary given the history of Soviet occupation and forced Russification policies of the past.

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