Exit poll shows pro-Kremlin party on 19.4%, with a pro-EU, pro-Nato party in second with 13.4%
The pro-Kremlin Harmony party seemed set to hold the balance of power in Latvia, following a general election on Saturday, with an exit poll showing it topping the vote ahead of liberals.
A public TV exit poll presented Harmony had a 19.4% election share, while the liberal pro-EU, pro-Nato For Development was in second place with 13.4%, ahead of the rightwing National Alliance on 12.6%.
Populists, who could help Harmony form a alliance, followed closely behind. The New Conservative party was on 12.4% and KPV LV presented 11.5%.
The Greens and Farmers Union of the “ministers “, Maris Kucinskis, managed 9.7%.
” No coalition combining is possible without Harmony that would appear able and stable ,” the Harmony chairman and Riga mayor, Nils Usakovs, told the Leta agency.” Otherwise, you could have a coalition of xenophobes and homosexual rights supporters, and such both governments would stick together for two or three weeks .”
Popular with Latvia's ethnic Russian minority, which attains up about a quarter of the country's 1.9 million population, Harmony, formerly allied with United Russia, the party of the president, Vladimir Putin, won the largest number of votes in the last three elections. However, it never entered government as it failed to attract coalition partners.
The final results of the vote are expected early on Sunday, with coalition talks to follow while the current parliament maintains running until November.
The vote was tarnished by a hacker attack on the Draugiem.lv social network, second in popularity only to Facebook in the Baltic state, which displayed a pro-Russian message.
” Comrades Latvians, this concerns you. The perimeters of Russia have no end ,” it said in Russian, followed by images of unmarked Russian soldiers in green uniforms annexing Crimea, Russian tanks parading in Moscow and a smirking Putin.
Turnout in the vote was 53.99%, according to the election website.
Analysts predicted Harmony, which has signed on some high-profile ethnic Latvians as their frontrunners, might join forces with populists to govern.
KPV LV, a populist party led by former stage performer Artuss Kaimins, is the possibility coalition partner.
And the party's candidate for prime minister, lawyer Aldis Gobzems, recently suggested they were open to working with other parties.
” KPV LV can work with anybody, we don't have any red lines considering any other political force-out ,” Gobzems said during a TV24 debate.
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