Exit poll: Seven-party Saeima in store for Latvia

The first exit poll released after voting ceased in the 13th Saeima elections on October 6 suggested the largest share of the vote went to the Harmony party (19.4%), with the For Development/For! alliance (13.4%) in second place, the National Alliance (12.6%) in third position and the New Conservative Party (12.4%) in fourth.

Though tipped by some to be a top-three party, KPV LV (11.5%) managed a provisional fifth place, with the Greens and Farmers Union (9.7%) of incumbent Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis in sixth place, a result that may place his job in jeopardy.

The final party estimated to have crossed the 5% threshold is New Unity (6.9%).

Falling short are Latvia's Regional Alliance (3.5%) and Latvia's Russian Union (3.2%). The Progressives (2.7%) and the Latvian Nationalists (1.1%) are the only other parties estimated to have won more than 1% of the vote with the remaining 5 parties sharing the scraps between them.  

The figures in the poll produced for LETA, LTV, Latvian Radio, Riga Stradins University and the SKDS pollster were based on research carried out up to 6 p.m. at polling stations across the country.

The sample size of the poll was 6,369, but attention should be drawn to the fact that of that number some 1,843 people, almost a third of the sample, declined to say which way they had voted - so there is plenty of opportunity for variation in the figures of the final results. In their accompanying methodology, the pollsters noted that the tendency to not give an opinion had grown since the last Saeima election, and exhibited considerable variation with 37% declining to give an answer in Latgale region as against just 20% in Vidzeme region.

If the exit poll proves accurate, seven parties would have crossed the 5% threshold required to win seats in Latvia's 100-member Saeima.  

For comparison purposes, in 2014's final results, Harmony won 23% of the vote, Unity 21%, the Greens and Farmers Union 19.5%, the National Alliance 16.6%, For Latvia From the Heart 6.8%, and Latvia's Regional Alliance 6.6%, meaning six parties made it into Saeima.

Clear skies and mild weather across most of the country gave little excuse for voters to stay at home but turnout looks like it may not exceed the 58% of the electorate level recorded at the previous Saeima elections in 2014. At 23:13 the figure stood at 54%, though this is still subject to upward revision.

This story will be updated.

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