bne IntelliNews – Support for Latvian Harmony Party plummets after Russian invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s war in Ukraine has brought significant changes to all walks of life, including Latvian political party polls, with elections for the Latvian Saeima Parliament looming on October 1.

The latest SKDS poll for Latvian television reveals that in March, longtime poll leader Harmony (Saskaņa) – which traditionally draws much of its support from Latvia’s ethnic Russian minority – saw its support s ‘collapse. It now occupies fourth place in the political party hierarchy.

Leading the poll is Prime Minister Krisjanis Kariņs’ New Unity (JV) party with 9.4% support, followed by the opposition Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS) with 7.7%.

Third place is held by the nationalist National Alliance (NA) with 7.2% voter support, ahead of Harmony with 6.7% – a drop of more than 10% from the previous month.

Next come the liberal Development/For (AP) party with 5.4%, the centre-left progressives with 4.9%,, a Latvian news site reported.

Interestingly, one of the month’s winners is Russia-friendly Latvian Russian Union (LKS), which gained 0.8% to reach 3.2% support, suggesting that some of the supporters more radically pro-Russian Harmony shifted allegiance to LKS while being more moderate. voters chose another party or withdrew from political involvement.

The Conservatives (K) continue to be the worst placed of the coalition parties, remaining unchanged with 3.1% support.

Two recently formed populist parties seem to have registered only briefly in voters’ affection. First place Latvia (LPV) and For Each and Every (KuK) saw their support drop, while another relatively new party, Stability! appears for the first time in the leaderboard with 2% support. He wants to reduce the number of deputies in the Saeima and have a president elected by direct suffrage.

While many of the parties will benefit from the increased ratings, the celebrations would be premature. The number of people saying they remain undecided about how to vote rose from 24% to 29% from February to March, although the number of people saying they have no intention of voting at all fell from 18% to 13 %. That still means well over 40% of the electorate is up for grabs.

The SKDS survey was conducted in March among 1,820 eligible voters.

In a Saeima election, a party wins seats only after it successfully garners 5% of the votes cast. Factoring this into the calculations would mean that the next Saeima would include eight political parties.

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