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Latvian political candidate hopes to Zumba dance her way to power

Svetlana Lonska, a Zumba dancer from Daugavpils, Latvia's second largest city, has posted her manifesto for upcoming municipal elections in the form of an eye-catching video inviting people to vote for her.

The video, titled A 21st Century Election Campaign starts with a scantily-clad Svetlana perched on a rock as waves break at her feet, urging: "Vote, I tell you!" in Russian.

The point of view then shifts from the sun-soaked Spanish beach to the somewhat less exotic city of Daugavpils, famous for its machine works and the burial place of thousands of Napoleon's frozen troops following his ill-fated invasion of Russia.

"You're saying everyone's stealing, and all the candidates are not cool," Svetlana raps, venturing to suggest herself as an alternative: "I offer you a replacement. Today I'm the candidate!"

"A simple girl I may be, but I'm no blockhead, you know," she then sings, accompanied by her dance troupe of six equally-well-coordinated women. 

Svetlana also sketches details from her past, which might sound like a familiar story for many in Daugavpils: "I hung around and worked hard in England - at a factory. Then I came back to Daugavpils, where my native home called me."

She moves on to discuss her everyday life with Zumba students, whom she taught the movements you just saw, while slowly making her way into the Daugavpils City Council - specifically, the deputy mayor's office.

In the bridge, she invites voters to put pluses next to her name, which is a way of moving the candidate up in the party ballot.

The song soars with "Svetlana is the candidate!" repeated four times, and "Svetlana is a councillor!" another four, lending a sense of urgency and achievement to a statement that can rarely, if ever, have been associated with these words. 

Zumba is a form of fitness dance, as the video itself makes abundantly clear. It appears to be effective.

After seeing her unique campaign video, LSM immediately contacted Svetlana for more.

"I don't have a lot of money for an election campaign, that's why I thought about doing something unusual, so that everyone could watch it and get my message across," she told us. 

"People in Daugavpils are tired of pre-election negativity. I wanted to give them something different, something more positive and fun."

"I want to work at the council to improve development of the public life in Daugavpils and improve ties between the council and the local residents," said Svetlana. 

Svetlana explained that the song is in Russian as it would be strange addressing voters in Latvian in a city where more than 50% of the electorate are ethnic Russians.

Her election clip has become the #1 trending YouTube video in Latvia and garnered close to 100,000 views.

Svetlana is running for the Latvia From the Heart party, which currently holds seven seats in the Latvian parliament. 

On the official website of the Central Election Commission, Svetlana, born in 1985, describes herself as holding a bachelor's degree in sports and social sciences from Daugavpils University and as a board member at the sole trader company Zumba Dejas (Zumba Dance).

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