The European Elections in Latvia

The European Elections in Latvia

June 2019

Turnout in the 2019 European elections in Latvia increased from 33.6% from 30%, but remains substantially lower than recorded in the country’s first European elections polls – 40% in 2004 and 54% in 2009.

The big winner is New Unity, which polled just 6.7% in Latvia’s 2018 general election, but posted 26.24% in 2019. New Unity’s Valdis Dombrovskis, is the current  Latvian European Commissioner for the Euro, Social Dialogue and Financial Services. Polls indicate that the Dombrovskis factor played strong and is largely responsible for New Unity’s electoral success. Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis will have significant influence in nominating the country’s next commissioner. He has stated repeatedly that Dombrovskis represents “the only Latvian politician capable of securing a prominent Commission position in the economic sphere”.

However, the race for the Latvian nomination may still prove tricky for Dombrovskis with Roberts Zile and his National Alliance (NA) having secured a higher than expected 16.4%. Zile is a well regarded long-serving MEP who has positioned himself as one of the leading voices in the group of European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). That being said, this is also Zile’s main weakness as Dombrovskis represents the European People’s Party (EPP), the largest group in the European Parliament.

The social democratic party, Harmony, lead by former Mayor of Riga Nils Ušakovs achieved second place with 17.5%, up from 13% in 2014. For the first time since 2004, Latvia has elected a liberal party likely to join the ranks of the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE). Support for the Latvian Russian Union (LKS) has proved resilient, with long-serving MEP Tatjana Zdanoka securing re-election, she is likely to remain with the Greens-European Free Alliance (Greens-EFA) in the next European Parliament.