Latvian Prime Minister’s New Unity party wins parliamentary election – early results

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš’s centre-right New Unity party won Saturday’s election with 19% of the vote, according to preliminary results, putting him in position to lead another coalition government.

The results – with 91% of districts counted – mean that Latvia should remain a leading voice alongside its Baltic neighbors Lithuania and Estonia in urging the European Union to take a firm stance on Russia.

Kariņš’s party was again the party with the most support after the election. Members of the current coalition were on track to earn 42 seats in the 100-seat parliament, so Kariņš will need to call in additional allies to stay on as prime minister.

Up to nine parties won enough votes to win seats in parliament.

After a campaign dominated by security concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kariņš told Reuters he would work to form a coalition of like-minded parties.

“I am convinced that we will find such a solution,” he said early on Sunday.

“First and foremost, everyone thinks about how we all get through the winter, not only in Latvia, but across the EU, and that we all stand united behind Ukraine and do not give up in the face of difficulties for us,” said Kariņš.

The outcome should mean that Latvia remains a leading voice alongside its Baltic neighbors Lithuania and Estonia in urging the European Union to adopt a firm stance on Russia.

The first Latvian leader to serve a full four-year term, Kariņš, a 57-year-old US citizen and Latvian national, has benefited from his Moscow policy, which included restricting entry for Russian citizens arriving from Russia and Belarus .

“I don’t see a chance that any government in Latvia will stop supporting Ukraine – that’s not the view of a small group of politicians, that’s the view of our society,” Kariņš said.

But his victory could widen a rift between the country’s Latvian majority and its Russian-speaking minority over their place in society amid widespread national anger at Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.