Latvian party ratings: Conservatives up, KPV LV down, ZZS on comeback trail

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The latest political opinion poll conducted by SKDS for Latvian Television makes interesting reading. Carried out in January, with the 13th Saeima just three months old, it shows growth in support for the New Conservative Party and a significant drop-off in support for KPV LV.

The most-supported party remains the opposition Harmony party, backed by 17.4% of those offering an opinion, though the level of support is down 3.2% on the previous month.

Second place is held by the New Conservatives who leaped 3.2% to win the confidence of 12.1% of voters.

Despite being cast out of government and into opposition, the Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS) shows some green shoots of recovery on 8.1% (+1.5%).

Fourth spot is held by the right of center National Alliance 7.7% (+1.2%).

Meanwhile populist KPV LV, which started December with a chance of leading a new government, saw its support tumble 3.3% to 7.1%. Since last October's election, its support has fallen even further, by 4.4%. Party schisms that have emerged in recent weeks and the expulsion of senior party figure Aldis Gobzems are likely to see the slide continue in the near future. 

The liberal Development/For! party is next on 6.7% (+0.5%), while New Unity - the party of new Prime Minister Krišjanis Kariņš has slightly lost ground with just 4% of voters backing it. However, it remains to be seen whether it will get a boost from the Kariņš effect in next month's data.

The results were based on canvassing 906 people across Latvia from January 11 to 23. It is worth noting that only on January 23 did Saeima approve the new government, and also that around one third of those surveyed did not offer support to any of the named parties.

According to Jānis Ikstens, professor at the University of Latvia, KPV LV's problems stem from its classic populist stance.

“It is the starting point for everything. This means that this is a party that very much enjoys criticizing what others are doing, but does not hurry to provide its own specific and, above all, enforceable promises. This means that such a party is very uncomfortable being in the ruling coalition,” said Ikstens, contrasting KPV LV's constrained role as part of a five-party coalition with comparable populist parties such as the Five Star movement in Italy which has much greater scope of action.

"In this way, I would say it is inevitable that it will lose the enthusiasm of the electorate,” said the political scientist.



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