| 15 April 2024, Monday |

Latvia to remain Russia’s critic as prime minister wins election

According to preliminary results, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins’ center-right New Unity party won Saturday’s election with 19% of the vote, placing him in a position to lead another coalition administration.

The results, with 96% of districts counted, indicate that Latvia, together with its Baltic neighbors Lithuania and Estonia, should continue to be a prominent voice in pressing the European Union for a tough approach against Russia.

Karins’ party was again the party with the most support following the election. Members of the current coalition were on track to receive 42 seats in the 100-seat parliament, so Karins needs to draft additional allies to stay as a prime minister.

As many as nine parties could win sufficient votes to secure seats in parliament.

After a campaign dominated by security concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Karins told Reuters he will be working to craft a coalition of like-minded parties.

“I am certain that we can find such a solution,” he stated early Sunday.

“The first and foremost thing on everyone’s mind is how we all get through the winter, not just in Latvia but throughout the EU, and that we all remain together with Ukraine and do not flinch in the face of hardships for us.”

Karins, the first Latvian head of government to fulfill a full four-year term, has profited from his Moscow policy, which has included blocking the admission of Russian individuals traveling from Russia and Belarus.

“I see no chance that any Latvian administration would stop supporting Ukraine – this is not the opinion of a tiny number of politicians, this is the opinion of our population,” Karins added.

However, his triumph may worsen the schism between Latvia’s Latvian majority and its Russian-speaking minority over their role in society.

  • Reuters