New Latvian Saeima will be slightly younger, much more female

The distribution of the seats in the 13th Saeima following parliamentary elections October 6 will see a significant increase in the number of female deputies.

31 of the 100 seats will go to women, a notable advance on the 12th Saeima's figure of 19.

The data was highlighted online by Janis Hermanis, a statistics enthusiast whose tweets are a goldmine of interesting data about Latvia.

As he also points out, the 31% figure puts Latvia ahead of fellow Baltic states Estonia and Lithuania and the European Union average (29.7%) when it comes to the proportion of women sitting in national parliaments.

For comparison purposes, the U.S. Congress currently has 19.4% female representation. Latvia's figure is now comparable with that of the United Kingdom's House of Commons, which has 32% female members of parliament.

So while there is still some way to go before Saeima reflects more accurately the demographics of the whole country, a significant advance has been made in Latvia.

It is also worth remembering that the parliamentary speaker - properly referred to as President of the Saeima and also responsible for deputizing for the state President when necessary - for the last four years has been Ināra Mūrniece and before that another woman, Solvita Āboltiņa. Mūrniece retained her seat in the recent elections (Āboltiņais now ambassador to Italy) and is generally regarded as a very efficient parliamentary head, but whether she retains this important position remains to be seen. 

The average age of the new MPs will be 47.3 years - nearly two years younger than the 49.1 years average age of MPs in the previous Saeima.

The number of MPs holding foreign citizenship as well as Latvian citizenship will double from 1 to 2. The 12th Saeima included a member with U.S. citizenship, Atis Lejiņš. He's not in the 13th Saeima but there will be one U.S. citizen (Vita Anda Tērauda of For Development/For!) and one Canadian citizen (Atis Zakatistovs of the KPV LV party) in it.

However, there is also a possibility the new Saeima will be slightly more Rīga-centric than the last. This time around 46% of elected MPs give their home address as Rīga, as opposed to 39% in the previous Saeima. The second-most-popular place of residence, the beach resort of Jūrmala, remains unchanged on 6%.

You can peruse the full results at your leisure on the website of the Central Election Commission.

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