Coalition deals on the cards in Latvia

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Coalition deals on the cards in Latvia

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A pro-Russian party has come away with the most votes in a snap general election in Latvia, triggered by a corruption crisis.

Experts say Harmony Centre capitalised on anger over public sector wage cuts and fear over plans to join the troubled euro.

But they only have 29 percent of the vote – not an outright majority, so coalition talks are planned.

Harmony’s leader says it is not about who has won, but about who can turn the country around.

“Latvian politics needs to be more socially responsible,“Nils Usakov told reporters. “It is a major problem for a country that has just survived an economic crisis. We also have to work together to overcome our economic problems.”

The new Zatlers Reform Party won 21 percent, while the Unity bloc of Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis took 18.

They also plan to form a coalition – this time to keep Harmony out.

This is the strongest showing for an ethnic pro-Russian party since the former Soviet state won independence in 1991.

History has led some to be wary of Harmony Centre’s ties with the Kremlin.