The House of the Blackheads, a 14th century guildhall, in Riga. Local elections in Latvia are scheduled for June 5, 2021. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Wilson44691 (CC0 1.0)
Freedom House Rating
June 5, 2021
October 2022 (due)
Riga Municipal Election
August 25, 2020
October 6, 2018
June 3, 2017
Latvia has scheduled municipal elections for June 5, 2021. After that, parliamentary elections are due in October 2022.
Latvia’s current government is a broad coalition consisting of five center-right and right-wing parties – it took four months to form the coalition, a record in Latvian political history. The government does not include Harmony, the party Latvia’s Russian community supports, even though it won 20 percent of the votes and is the largest party in the Saeima, Latvia’s legislature. Harmony advocates for a stance of appeasement toward Russia; as a result, the other parties have a “cordon sanitaire” around it.
Harmony has historically been strong in Riga, the capital, but last year’s Riga elections surprised political observers by knocking Harmony down from the top spot. Instead, an alliance of the liberal Development/For! party and social democrat environmentalist Progressives won the most seats.
Latvia, along with the other Baltic nations of Lithuania and Estonia, is a member of NATO and the European Union. As Latvia’s population is roughly 25 percent ethnic Russian, Russia has influence among some segments of Latvian society and politics. Meanwhile, China has been increasing its involvement.
Curated News and Analysis
Jānis Geste, lsv.lm (May 12, 2021): Party ratings for April show plenty to fight for in local elections
Elizabete Mežule, Baltic News Network (May 5, 2021): Convicted Latvian mayor will run for office from prison
Una Aleksandra Bērziņa-Čerenkova, Foreign Policy Research Institute (April 7, 2021): Go with the devil you don’t know?” Latvians still believe in economic cooperation with China
Juris Paiders, Eurasia Review (March 26, 2021): It’s About Time We Started Discussing China’s Influence In Latvia – OpEd
Edgars Kupčs, LSM Latvian Public Broadcasting (March 17, 2021): Municipal elections might see ‘political monopoly’ in Latvia
Aaron Eglitis, Bloomberg (February 22, 2021): U.S.-Sanctioned Mayor Who Ran Latvia Is Found Guilty of Graft
Una Bergmane, Foreign Policy Research Institute (September 16, 2020): Riga: A New Beginning
Vassilis Petsinis, openDemocracy (January 26, 2019): As long as it lasts: Latvia’s new coalition government
Joanna Hyndle-Hussein, OSW (October 10, 2018): Parliamentary elections in Latvia: the fragmentation of the political scene
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Updated May 12, 2021