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Latvian election runners-up combine to keep Harmony Centre out

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Reuters

The left-wing Harmony Centre won the most votes in Latvia’s election but looks unlikely to form the government. Harmony Centre, which draws most of its support from the Russian minority, is likely to have 31 seats but its opponents look set to work together to keep it oout of power.


Harmony seems to have picked up support in Saturday's poll because of attempts to

Results of Saturday's elections:

  • Harmony Centre - 28 per cent;
  • Zatlers Reform - 20 per cent;
  • Unity - 18 per cent;
  • National Alliance - 14 per cent;
  • Greens and Farmers - 12 per cent.

block an inquiry into high-level corruption by the previous parliament and because of its calls to ease up on an austerity programme imposed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

But the Zatlers Reform Party, formed by ex-president Valdis Zatlers after he was forced out in the corruption row, has said it will negotiate with the Unity bloc and the right-wing National Alliance to try and form a government.

That would give them a 56-seat bloc and leave both Harmony and the Union of Greens and Farmers, widely dubbed an “oligarch party”, out in the cold.

President Andris Berzins is looking for a government that would have at least 50 seats, according to his spokesperson.

“The president would like to call on parties to form a wider coalition, which would be more stable," Liga Krapane told Latvia's commercial LNT TV.