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Tuesday 20.02.2018 | Name days: Smuidra, Vitauts, Smuidris
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Politologist about UGF and other parties’ chances of entering EP

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUEven though there may be some surprises on the horizon, the current situation looks as though there are four political parties that may overcome the barrier to participate in European Parliament elections, said Providus researcher Iveta Kažoka in her interview to BNN.

According to her, these parties are Unity, National Alliance, Union of Greens and Farmers and Harmony Centre. ‘The biggest intrigue right now is which candidates will end up in the European Parliament. For example – UGF has a rather litigious list of candidates. Persons on that list are not exactly friendly with each other and tend to organizer personal pre-election campaigns. The intrigue surrounding Unity is that it is uncertain who will be the third candidate after Sandra Kalniete and Valdis Dombrovskis,’ – explains Kažoka.

Four parties will compete with each other for votes of Russian voters – Tatyana Zhdanok’s Latvian Russians’ Union, current MEP Aleksandr Misky’s Alternative party, Harmony Centre and Alfred Rubiks’ Latvian Socialist Party. ‘Results of public opinion surveys suggest only HC will make it to the European Parliament with two or three seats. However, there may be surprises as well, if, for example, voters do a bit of research and notice that Mirsky starts from Alternative list and Rubiks – from Latvian Socialists Party,’ – says Kažoka. At the same time, she believes the choice of Russian voters will be affected by candidates’ opinion on events in Ukraine. This especially applies to residents who have Ukrainian roots.

The researcher predicts slow activity of voters in EP elections. She adds that people do not know all that much about the European Parliament and the matters this institution has been working on in the past several years. ‘This, however, is a problem of the whole of Europe, not just Latvia. It would be good if the next EP elections included European-level parties, not just lists of separate national parties. People do not see any point in taking part in EP elections. They do not believe eight MEPs out of more than 750 can affect anything,’ – explains Kažoka.

According to latest foreign survey results, six out of ten European residents are not interested in participating in this year’s EP elections. Only 35% of respondents say they will definitely participate.

According to survey results, the largest degree of enthusiasm is noted in Belgium, where voting is mandatory. 53% of respondents there have confirmed their intention to participate in elections. Belgium is followed by France (44%) and Holland (41%). The lowest degree of enthusiasm is noted in the UK and Poland (27% and 20% respectively), as reported by LETA.

According to what the politologist has told BNN, the majority of voters do not read programmes proposed by parties prior to voting in EP and Saeima elections. However, Kažoka hopes that voters will not vote automatically for the same party they always do, but will at the very least follow pre-election discussions and other events. One method residents can use to learn more about different EP candidates is Pielaiko partiju! form. This programme is intended for every Latvian voter to compare his or her opinion about important events in Europe with opinions of EP candidates. The full form is available here.

According to results of the latest Latvijas fakti survey, HC and Unity may receive the most support from voters during the upcoming EP elections. According to what sociologist Aigars Freimanis had previously told LETA, 19.8% of respondents said they would vote for HC, 13.1% – for Unity. 8.9% of voters are prepared to give their votes for the Union of Greens and Farmers and 7.6% – for the National Alliance.

3% of respondents said they would vote for Alternative. Latvian Russians Union can expect to receive 0.8% of votes. For Latvia’s Development may receive 2.2% of votes.

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