Yesterday’s parliamentary election in the Baltic nation of Latvia has thrown up more bitter disappointment for Brussels, as the pro-Moscow Social Democratic Party “Harmony” finished in first place.
The Harmony Party won 19.8% of the popular vote, giving it 23 seats in the 100-seat Saeima.
It has a long-standing affiliation with Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party.
Latvia, provisional election results:
840,574 / 1,548,100 eligible voters, turnout 54,3%
— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) October 7, 2018
This means it’ll hold the balance of power as the disparate forces of Latvian politics attempt to form a governing coalition in the coming days and weeks.
Joint second place in terms of parliament seats – 16 apiece – were the New Conservative Party and “Who Owns The State?” – both parties are vaguely “populist”.
The crucial difference between these two are that the former is pro-European, whilst the latter is strongly nationalistic and Eurosceptic.
The National Alliance, a promising right-wing nationalist political grouping, lost four seats and could lose return to opposition after a number of years governing as part of a coalition.
Their stated ambition in recent years has been to keep the pro-Russian party from power.
#UPDATE pro-Kremlin Harmony party wins Latvia’s general election ahead of populists, after a vote tarnished by hackers’ attack on country’s top social network https://t.co/7q9Okogo1Y pic.twitter.com/YW2ezwXCLv
— AFP news agency (@AFP) October 7, 2018
Latvia borders Russia to the East and has a Russian minority of 495,000 people – just over 25% of the population.
Brussels and Washington will no doubt be alarmed by these developments and fear “another Donetsk” being played out in the Baltic region.
The obsessive scaremongers are out already with the usual “Russia hacked us” trope, of course, but this will do little to dissolve the problem on their hands.