Saeima Elections 2022: All The Parties (Part 4)

With election day just weeks away, it's time for the concluding part of our overview of the parties contesting Latvia's 14th Saeima elections on October 1.

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.

This final part covers numbers 16 to 19 on the ballot list. You can read Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 in our previous stories.

Obviously, 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. A little thought from the reader will probably be enough to come to a conclusion on such matters. 

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.

Party names are given initially as written on the official party list. A lot of them feature the word 'Latvia' or its variants, and others have curious typographic traits such as using CAPITAL LETTERS or including an exclamation mark (!) in the official name of the party.

16. Attīstībai/Par! (Development/For!, A/P!)

Quote: "Our main goal is secure freedom for Latvia – national, economic, and social security."

Program: Development/For!'s program touches upon a vast range of priority subjects: energy independence, internal and external security, language, education and science, healthcare, digital development, and protection of human rights. Focus is placed on long-term green energy solutions and greener solutions in all areas, on investment in tertiary education and research, and on digitalization. The program promises to "protect the Constitution, European values, and citizens' freedoms".

Notable candidate: Andris Lielais. Lielais is a Latvian actor who lived in Russia until the summer of 2022. Still living in Russia, Lielais publicly condemned Russia's war in Ukraine, and upon receiving threats, moved to Latvia soon after. Among A/P!'s candidates are several current and former ministers (Defense Minister Artis Pabriks, Interior Minister Kristaps Eklons, former Interior Minister Marija Golubeva, Environment and Regional Development Minister Arturs Toms Plešs).

Summary: The party association Development/For! consists of two separate but allied parties: For Latvia's Development. and Movement For!. A/P! positions itself as "liberal democrats and pragmatic idealists", and expresses strongly pro-European views. A/P! was one of the most active supporters of the landmark Civil Union Law, which has not yet been adopted. In the previous parliamentary elections, A/P! placed fourth with 13 seats in the parliament. The party association has recently experienced shakeups, with Movement For! threatening to split from For Latvia's Development after the Minister for Environment Arturs Toms Plešs stopped Rīga's development plan. Following that, Rīga Mayor Mārtiņš Staķis quit the party association, a major blow as he is one of the country's more popular politicians.

Factoid: Development/For! has a high proportion of ethnic Latvians on its candidate list, with 86.1% indicating their nationality as Latvian.

Websitehttps://attistibaipar.lv/

17. Apvienība Latvijai (Alliance for Latvia, AL)

Quote: "Socially just and Latvian Latvia."

Program: AL has indicated it wants to introduce a popular vote on important issues, including the allocation of state resources and the election of the President. The party also wishes to combat "political and official corruption" and to reduce the number of state officials working in the government. AL focuses on tax policies, offering a "special and supportive tax system for small entrepreneurs" and tax relief for the socially disadvantaged and pensioners. According to AL, "it is not permissible to accept extra immigrants in Latvia" and "it is not permissible to support the European Union's direction toward a unitary state and thus the elimination of Latvia as a national state".

Notable candidate: Māris Možvillo, as the number one of the candidate list, has been on the political scene for quite a while under different parties. He started in Aloja municipal elections for the National Alliance in 2013, later joining KPV LV and winding up the head of KPV LV's rump Saeima faction despite initially not making it to the Saeima at all.

Summary: The party association Alliance for Latvia is new, but the names on the candidate list have been around under associations of different names for a while. AL was established in April 2022, uniting the Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party (LSDSP) and For a Humane Latvia (Par cilvēcīgu Latviju, PCL).  LSDSP left the association soon after, so currently AL is a descendant of PCL, which in turn emerged after the disintegration of KPV LV after its breakthrough in the 2018 Saeima elections.

Factoid: AL has a higher proportion of men (72.2%) to women (27.8%) among its candidates.

Website: not available.

18. "APVIENOTAIS SARAKSTS - Latvijas Zaļā partija, Latvijas Reģionu Apvienība, Liepājas partija" ("THE UNITED LIST – Latvian Green Party, Latvian Regional Alliance, Liepāja party", AS)

Quote: "This is no time for populism and illusion-planting."

Program: The association names security, effective state management and green economy as its priorities. The military industry is emphasized along with the strengthening of NATO presence in the region. Like several other candidate lists, AS states that referendums should be simpler to organize. The program also emphasizes the use of local renewable resources and sustainable economic development, as most other party programs do.

Notable candidate: The second on the Vidzeme region candidate list is Raimonds Bergmanis, three-time weightlifting Olympian and former Defense Minister (2015–2019). Bergmanis was elected to the 12th and 13th Saeima from the Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS), which he left in May 2022 to join the AS.

Summary: The party list brings together different political forces in a pragmatic attempt to achieve the necessary critical mass to win seats. One of the forming parties, Latvian Regional Alliance, used to be a party association itself but now is a party in its own right. The Latvian Green Party used to be part of the Greens and Farmers Union for 20 years before leaving it in June 2022. The Liepāja party is a regional party with a strong local following and also used to be part of the Greens and Farmers Union. This mix is joined by 'independent professionals brought together by entrepreneur Uldis Pīlēns'. For many, it is still unclear what and who the list consists of and what they have in common, but recent polls suggest it could be the dark horse of the political pack, particularly if it can attract regional and rural voters who want to vote against a perceived Rīga elite.

Factoid: The founder of AS, entrepreneur Uldis Pīlēns, formed the party association with the election in mind. Despite that, Pīlēns is not a candidate himself, though curiously he still remains AS' nominee for Prime Minister.

Website: not available.

19. Politiskā partija "Republika" (Political party "Republic", R)

Quote: "The foundation of Latvia's sovereignty is an ordered State internal and external security."

Program: Republic, like several other candidate lists, endorses a presidential election by popular vote, reducing the number of MPs, making public referendums easier, and introducing a digital voting system. Regarding internal security, the program emphasizes the strengthening of military production and the Armed Forces, as well as reducing corruption. Among its more notable economic goals is the setting up of a small modular nuclear reactor and withdrawing Latvian-produced energy from the Nord Pool exchange.

Notable candidate: The party's Prime Minister candidate is former Interior Minister Sandis Ģirģens. Ģirģens used to be a member of the now-defunct KPV LV (later PCL) party, but quit it in August 2021, joining the Republic soon after.

Summary: Though the "Republic" party positions itself in the center, they refer to their members – and potential voters – as "republicans", inevitably creating an association with the US Republican party and its values.  The four founders of the party, established in August 2021, were elected to the previous Saeima from Harmony (Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis, Evija Papule) and KPV LV (Kaspars Ģirģens, Ēriks Pucens). However, internal frictions mean Dombrovskis has since departed and is standing for Attistibai/Par! instead.

Factoid: Republic has a lower proportion than average of candidates residing in Rīga, with 28.7% indicating their place of residence in the capital (38.1% on average among all candidates). 

Websitehttps://www.republikanis.lv/

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