Holding the Line
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Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins’ ruling party secured a decisive victory in Latvia’s weekend elections, even as voters punished a party favored by ethnic Russians, Bloomberg reported.
Preliminary results showed that Karins’ New Unity party won nearly 19 percent of the vote, while the opposition Union of Greens and Farmers received 12.8 percent of the vote. The newly formed United List party, which had hinted at a potential coalition with New Unity, received 11 percent.
What stood out in the weekend polls was the declining support for Harmony, which with the support of many ethnic Russians in the Baltic country had been the largest opposition party in the parliament. Now the party is projected to receive less than five percent, failing to meet the threshold required to enter Latvia’s parliament.
Karins – a staunch critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin – welcomed the results, saying that Latvian voters “care about our country’s democracy, its existence.”
The election highlights a deepening schism between European Union and NATO countries.
Anger over Russia’s war on Ukraine is increasing support for trans-Atlantic unity in Latvia and other countries that were freed from Moscow’s rule following the collapse of the Soviet Union more than 30 years ago.
Following the start of the war in Ukraine in February, Karins’ government has been pushing for stronger sanctions against the Kremlin and called on NATO to boost Latvia’s 132-mile border with Russia.
Latvia also recently demolished a 262-foot Soviet monument in the capital Riga, infuriating Moscow, and pledged to remove more such monuments.