Saeima Elections 2022: All The Parties (Part 2)

With all candidate lists submitted for the 14th parliamentary elections in Latvia, LSM continues its overview of all the contesting parties.

The nineteen parties and political associations in the running are listed in the order in which they will appear on ballot papers, from number 1 to number 19. You can read more information about the election process itself at the website of the Central Electoral Commission and this summary which we have already published.

The overview of the first five parties can be read in our other story. Here, we continue with the next five, and will cover the remaining ones in two more batches.

LSM does not endorse any particular party or candidate and with strict rules in place regarding impartiality in public media, we can't really provide much assessment of how credible or incredible claims and promises in election manifestos might be. Information is provided for general interest purposes only, and may be particularly useful for foreign election-watchers who are sometimes confused by the Latvian political scene and what each party stands for.


6. "Kristīgi Progresīvā Partija" (Christian Progressive Party, KPP)

Quote: "The economy cannot be headed by people without knowledge."

Program: The party, a debutant for the Saeima election, mentions "Latvian national family values and Latvian residents' Christian values" as their core focus. This is the only explicit link with Christianity in the summary program. The KPP has written out eleven aims to be achieved, most of them on economic growth and energy sector development, as well as a lot of 'tidying up' in regard to transport, healthcare, and the education system. According to the party's manifesto, Latvia "must become a robot-producing country", and establish a military production sector. The phrases "based on scientific research", "using a scientific approach", or "scientifically" appear frequently, but are never elaborated. 

Notable candidate: Former Saeima deputy Imants Burvis is listed at the top of the party's Vidzeme representatives. Burvis was elected to the 7th Saeima from the Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party (LSDSP) and has since emerged here and there in smaller parties. In 2004 Burvis was found guilty of fraud and abuse of position for allegedly pocketing some of LSDSP's funds.

Summary: Having recently appeared on the political scene, KPP has a lot to prove. It attempts to do so by emphasizing science and education as the cornerstone of its further plans for economic growth, though a manifesto laden with basic spelling and grammar errors could somewhat undermine that message. The party's name until last year was Vienotā Rēzekne (United Rēzekne), which held a few seats in local government after Rēzekne's municipal elections in 2009. Though its roots are found in Latgale, none of the current party candidates have indicated the region as their place of residence.

Factoid: KPP has one of the smallest lists with only 31 candidates. It also has the highest average age of candidates (53.9 years). 

Website not available


7. "Saskaņa" sociāldemokrātiskā partija (Social Democratic Party "Harmony", S)

Quote: "Latvia needs a restart!"

Program: At the top of the Harmony party's program are major changes to the electoral system in the country: Harmony proposes that the President be elected by popular vote [instead of by Saeima as is current], that Latvia's non-citizens [a legacy of the Soviet occupation years] be allowed to vote, and that the process of organizing a referendum should be simpler. The program also includes a transition to a socially-oriented economy, targeting different aid systems at disadvantaged groups, and focusing on the accessibility of healthcare and education. Notably, Harmony's program endorses the choice of study language at all levels of education, hinting at the recent decision to remove Russian as a main language of education in schools of Latvia. 

Notable candidate: Mairis Briedis. The three-time world champion boxer Briedis has recently come under repeated scrutiny on social media and in the boxing world for his ambiguous claims on the war in Ukraine and other matters. Harmony has previously had a former international footballer, Mihails Zemļinskis, in its Saeima seats.

Summary: For ten years, Harmony was the leading party of the Rīga municipality, with former mayor Nils Ušakovs at its helm (2009–2019). In the Saeima, though, it has remained in the opposition despite repeatedly winning the largest single share of the vote. With a higher proportion of ethnic Russians than Latvians in the list [19.5% and 17.2% respectively with about half of the candidates' nationality not indicated], preserving the Russian language and the Russian-speaking community in Latvia are priorities of the party. Its attitude toward Russia as the aggressor state in the Ukraine war has been shifty, since it condemned the war immediately after its beginning along with the rest of the parliament but refused to vote in the Saeima's statement on Russia as a terrorism-supporting state.

Factoid: Harmony has been the most popular choice among voters in the Saeima elections since the 11th Saeima elections, when it won 31 seats. Now, according to polls, Harmony is in 3rd place with around seven percent of eligible voters supporting it, making this a very important election for its future.

Websitehttps://saskana.eu/

8. Politiskā partija "Stabilitātei!" (Political party "For Stability!", S!)

Quote: "AGAINST THE COLLAPSE OF THE NATION, FOR THE ABILITY TO BE UNITED!"

Program: For Stability! [exclamation mark included] emphasizes that Latvian society must not be split, and proposes to achieve that goal by splitting from the European Union, developing a sovereign economic policy, and creating "independent relations with neighboring countries". Like the Harmony party, it also pushes for presidential election by popular vote and the right for non-citizens to vote. The program includes shifts in tax policies and the education system, along with "fair pensions and attitude towards signors" (sic, presumably meaning seniors). The party also promises to prosecute current MPs and politicians for "using the COVID-19 pandemic as a tool for segregation [...] and destroying health by carrying out forced vaccinations and denying the right to receive urgent medical care." It is not specified how this prosecution would be achieved legally.

Notable candidate: Aleksejs Rosļikovs. Rosļikovs is one of the founders of the For Stability! party. He used to be a member of the Harmony party and held a seat in the Rīga City Council but was expelled in 2019. Rosļikovs was one of the louder anti-vax voices during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Summary: For Stability! is a relatively new party, formed in January 2021. Its program, aiming for shifts in the governmental and voting system and pushing for the elimination of  'ethnic voting' (i.e., allowing non-citizens to vote) also somewhat resembles Harmony's program, albeit more extreme. Most of the promises regard major changes in the fundamental composition of the state and prosecution of the former government, with the aim to 'regain Latvia's independence'.

Factoid: For Stability! is one of the most gender-balanced parties with men to women proportion of 52.3% to 47.7%.

Website not available

9. Politiskā partija "Tautas varas spēks" (The Power of People's Power, TVS)

Quote: "WAKE UP AND BE WITH US!"

Program: TVS' program does not, in fact, state any comprehensive goals or detailed promises. Instead, it complains at length that the current "regime" has led to the nation's imminent extinction with the residents being nothing but laboratory bunnies, and continues with these calls: "Let's throw parasites, thieves of state funds, thieves and fools out of the Saeima and the government together! Let's bring order into the state!"

Notable candidate: Businessman, politician, and activist Valentīns Jeremejevs is at the top of the Rīga candidate list. He is best known as one of the first persons detained in Latvia for spreading disinformation about Covid-19 and vaccination, as well as for attempts to ban the 2018 Baltic Pride event.

Summary: The manner of the party's recent formation was recently reported on by LTV and LSM. Though TVS is not well known yet as a political union, its members have long been known in the public for different types of oppositional activism. 

Factoid: TVS seems to take some inspiration from the French "yellow vest" protesters, as in election photographs they are pictured wearing high-visibility vests.

Website not available

10. Partija 'Vienoti Latvijai" (Party "United for Latvia", VL)

Quote: "GOVERNMENT OF THE NATION"

Program: The party's program consists of a single word in all-caps, TAUTVALDĪBA, which literally translates to 'the government of the nation', or, the basic principle of democracy. It is presumed, then, to be their core value, though some voters might reasonably expect them to explain exactly what they want to do.

Notable candidate:  United for Latvia, among its 28 candidates, does not have huge public figures. At the top of the list are anti-vaccination activists Anita Mitriķe and Madara Gobziņa, who appear as news anchors on the broadcaster Brīvvalsts TV, known to produce content within the narrative of the Latvian state losing its independence and encouraging 'freedom of thought'.

Summary: United for Latvia was formed in Rēzekne in 2011 and started out as a small regional party. In the 12th Saeima elections, its leadership was given to Ainārs Šlesers, though since then he has moved on and contests the 14th Saeima elections for a completely different party. United for Latvia has contested in the 12th and 13th Saeima elections but never got into the parliament. In May it was reported the party would not contest these elections, but in fact it is doing so. Perhaps this time it hopes to attract more voters thanks to its easily-memorized manifesto.

Factoid: Only 28 candidates will be standing for VL, but they achieve a perfectly balanced 50/50 split between men and women.

Website not available

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