Latvians vote in parliamentary elections

Latvians are heading to polling stations across the country and beyond October 6 in the 13th Saeima elections.

1461 candidates are in the running for 100 seats in parliament and the chance to be part of the next government.

954 polling stations are open across Latvia with more than 100 more at countries across the globe. 

According to official figures, some 33,000 people had already taken the opportunity to vote early before polls opened on election day itself at selected polling stations.

And on October 6 itself, nearly 20,000 people cast their ballots during the first hour of voting. Voting activity appeared to be high at polling stations visited by LSM and by midday more than 21% of the electorate had cast their votes.

By 4 p.m. that figure had risen to more than 600,000, equivalent to 39% turnout. At the equivalent stage of the 12th Saeima elections in 2014, turnout was 40% and finally reached 58.85% at the close of polls, so it will be interesting to see if that figure is bettered this time around. 

President Raimonds Vējonis was among the morning voters, having urged the public to the polls yesterday.

Polls are open 07:00 until 20:00 Rīga time with an exit poll expected to be released at the close of polls.

Pre-election polls suggested a quarter of the electorate remained undecided about who to support as election day loomed, making this one of the most eagerly-anticipated and difficult to predict Saeima elections for a while.

Results generally come in quickly after the close of polls and a fairly clear picture of the result can be expected by the early hours of the morning.

The leading seven Prime Ministerial candidates from among the 16 competing parties took part in a TV debate on the evening of October 5 in a final bid to attract support.

However, election campaigning and publicity is not permitted on election day.

For more on Latvia's election process, see our special feature.

 

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