Election results announced

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Central Election Commission chairman Arnis Cimdars announced the official provisional results of Latvia's 12th Saeima elections Sunday at a press conference in central Riga.

After telling journalists that the election had generally run smoothly, Cimdars revealed the results, which showed the opposition Harmony party topping the poll by a narrow margin.

Harmony secured 23.13% of the vote ahead of Unity (21.76%), Greens and Farmers Union (19.62%), National Alliance (16.57%), Latvia From the Heart (6.88%) and the Regional Alliance (6.55%).

Owing to the complex formulas used to work out the distribution of seats, the Regional Alliance actually won an extra seat from Latvia From the Heart - ironically as a result of its stronger support in Riga.

The seats in the 100-member parliament will be distributed in the following manner: Harmony 24 seats; Unity 23; Greens and Farmers 21; National Alliance 17; Regional Alliance 8; Latvia From The Heart 7.

No other parties crossed the 5% threshold necessary to win seats in Saeima.

The result means the current three-party ruling coalition would control 61 seats in Saeima with the possibility that the Regional Alliance might be brought into the coalition to give a powerful 69 seat bloc.

Turnout, at 58.8%, was the lowest ever recorded in a Latvian parliamentary election.

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