Latvian minority party wins most seats in parliamentary election

Harmony Center

Harmony Center, a left-leaning, pro-Russian party, won the most votes in Latvia’s parliamentary elections last week. The party, which caters to the country’s Russian minority, captured around 28 percent of the vote, while a new party formed by former President Valdis Zatlers came in second place with nearly 21 percent. Unity, the largest member in the current ruling coalition, fell to third place with 18 percent. Then-President Valdis Zatlers forced the early elections by calling a special referendum in May to dissolve parliament.

Latvia has a lot of strange rules in its electoral system.  The president can call for a referendum to dissolve parliament, but if it fails, he or she must resign.  Also, parliament elects the president for a two year term.  Zatlers called the referendum a few days before his term expired and parliament rewarded his move by voting for somebody else instead of renewing his term.

I don’t know of any other time when a minority party won the most seats in an election.  This isn’t to say that Harmony Center “won the election” as they still have to form a coalition, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

Posted on September 27, 2011, in Elections, Electoral Systems and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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