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Tuesday 20.03.2018 | Name days: Made, Irbe

Latvia has ten parties with the necessary number of members for Saeima elections

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThere are ten political parties in Latvia that have 500 or more members, as reported by De Facto programme of LTV.

«However, the recently changes regulations request that parties that start in Saeima elections should be at least one year old and have 500 members. If parties have less members, they have to create unions,» as noted by the programme.

Limited age for parties mean there will not be any last-moment miracles. September is the last month to found a new party for the next elections.

This means ‘Kustība Par!’ is, perhaps, the last political party that has managed to register to start in 13th Saeima elections. This party consists of former Unity members and some publicly well-known businessmen, scientists and others. Judging from the first public statements made by this party, they are aiming for Harmony’s and Unity’s voters, De Facto reports.

Mārtiņš Staķis, board member of ‘Kustība Par!’, told De Facto: «We have agreed to reach out to the widest possible audience. We believe there is no party that has a monopoly for votes of Russian speakers. We know there are many Russian speakers in the country who are also Latvian patriots. I have served with some of them in the National Guard, and they have no one to vote for. We also know of some people who felt disappointed with their previous voting choices.»

‘Kustībai Par!’ has more than 300 members. The party’s manifest has been signed by nearly eight hundred people. The party hopes to get 500 members in spring so that it is possible to start in elections independently.

Demand and hope for new political parties is high in the country at the moment. Survey results show that that the number of voters that are not sure for whom to vote for has increased since the last Saeima elections. «This kind of situation is present all the time. There is a very small minority in Latvia that votes confidently for the same party at every election. They might consider voting for someone else. The final decision is still made shortly before elections,» says SKDS project director Ieva Strode.

SKDS survey results show that Harmony has the most stable voters. They make their decisions in time and do not change them.

The Union of Greens and Farmers usually feel comfortable before elections. UGF has no plans to attract other parties to form a union. The party may attract individual members, however. The National Alliance has yet to decide its strategy, LTV explains.

Other parties are already considering their platforms to gain the best possible result.

De Facto notes that the plummeting support for Unity has forced politicians to regroup. For example, former Unity member Valdis Šakars has announced his intention to form his political party ‘Mūsu zeme Latvija’ next week. It is unlikely, however, to gather at least 200 members in such a short time. Edvards Smiltēns has also left Unity to find his own place. He has since expressed an interest for cooperation with Latvian Association of Regions.

LAR has decided to be on its own for the next elections. No union will be formed with any party, including Juris Pūce’s For Latvia’s Development. Together, the two parties had a successful start in municipal elections in Riga. Dainis Liepiņš has voiced an opinion against cooperation in the upcoming Saeima elections. Former leader of LAR Mārtiņš Bondars wanted to continue cooperation. Potential cooperation partners will have to start under the same name union.

Following Bondars’ exit, LAR has been searching for a new leader. Saeima deputy Nellija Kleinberga became the association’s leader this week. However, newly-elected leaders in municipalities have no plans to start in Saeima, De Factor reports.

For Latvia’s Development does not have enough members to start in elections independently. The party has found common ground with Vents Armands Krauklis’ led Vidzeme Party.

«They will decide on their own, but we will speak with other political parties – both national and regional ones. We will definitely start in elections together.»

Unity, on the other hand, is not eager to search for cooperation partners. The party is currently working on a plan to exact changes. Unity chairman Arvils Ašeradens notes that the party’s position will become clearer in spring.

Parties’ accomplishments will be decided by their ability to join forces and find capable leaders, De Factor Comments.


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