"No persuasive evidence" of Russian meddling in electioneering says journalist

The Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism, Re:Baltica, has released a update on the social media monitoring it has been carrying out during Latvia's election campaign season.

The good news is that fears of direct Russian-state interference appear to have been wide of the mark, with Re:Baltica founder Inga Springe saying:

"The Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism Re:Baltica has been monitoring platforms since summer. No persuasive evidence of foreign interference was found."

However, there is no shortage of emotionally-driven and factually questionable material produced locally to inflame opinion, she adds, with the business daily Dienas Bizness for example producing a long sequence of bizarre front page opinion pieces with unsupported assertions and conspiracy theories about certain candidates.

"The dominant feature of these elections is fragmentation and the end of the force which has dominated Latvian politics for the last 16 years. Center-right Vienotība (Unity) has ruined itself by internal intrigues and is trailing with 5 percent in the polls. Former supporters of Unity have formed several new parties (liberal For Development/For! and the New Conservative Party, led by a former justice minister from the National Alliance and former high-ranking anti-corruption agency officials) which are all fighting each other to get over the barrier," says Springe.

"The divide between these parties has been mentioned as one of the reasons why a week before elections 25.5 percent of voters claim they still have not decided for whom to vote. Although “I don’t know/haven’t decided” has been jokingly called the biggest party in Latvian politics for years, the level of uncertainty before these elections is unprecedented," she concludes.

The full article can be read at the Re:Baltica website

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