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Support for Unity party collapses

Only 5.5 percent of voters would cast their ballots for the Unity party if elections were held in December, the latest survey by Latvijas Fakti pollster shows, reported BNS Thursday.

If elections were held in December, 19.5 percent of Latvians would vote for the leftist pro-Russia Harmony, 15.6 percent would vote for the centrist Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS) and 8.7 percent for the nationalist conservative National Alliance. Five percent would support the Latvian Bloc of Regions.

Over the past month, voter support has risen by 1.4 percentage points for the Harmony, 0.7 percentage points for ZZS and 0.5 percentage points for the National Alliance.

Meanwhile, voter support for the Unity has dropped 2.6 percent from November.

For Latvia from the Heart has also seen its rating slip by 0.6 percentage points in December.

Commenting on the December survey, Latvijas Fakti head Aigars Freimanis said the drop of the Unity's rating was the most significant change, which in Freimanis' opinion was caused by the party's internal issues, contractions and disputes, as well as the resignation of Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma's Cabinet.

The Unity's decision to nominate its leader Solvita Aboltina as a candidate for prime minister was not reflected in this poll yet, Freimanis said.

Also, 11.5 percent of respondents said in the poll they would not take part in elections and 31 percent were undecided about their choice.

If accurate the figures should set alarm bells ringing at Unity's headquarters. Parliamentary elections in Latvia operate with a 5% threshold to win seats in Saeima, so Unity - neck and neck with Harmony as largest single party at last year's elections with 21% of the vote - would barely scrape a handful of mandates.

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