Latvian inmates vote in parliamentary elections for first time ever

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Latvian residents who are currently behind bars have for the first time ever obtained the right to vote in the country's parliamentary elections, the press service for the Latvian Penitentiary Service said.

Latvian residents who are currently behind bars have for the first time ever obtained the right to vote in the country's parliamentary elections, the press service for the Latvian Penitentiary Service said.

Elections to the Latvian parliament take place on Saturday. Over 1,000 polling stations have been set up in Latvia and abroad to cater to some 1.5 million voters.

Over 4,700 Latvian prisoners enjoy the right to vote and 3,820 of them have indicated willingness to cast their ballots. Inmates from five of the country's twelve prisons have already voted and convicts from the other seven prisons will cast their ballots within the next hours.

The opposition Saskanas Centrs (Harmony Centre) party representing the Russian-speaking majority is leading in opinion polls.

Public anger at the country's recent austerity measures could help the Saskanas Centrs grab seats in parliament for the first time in two decades, analysts say.

But the opinion polls also show strong support for Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis' Vienotiba (Unity) bloc. Dombrovskis, who still enjoys widespread popularity despite the unpopular budget cuts and tax increases, entered office in 2009 when the recession was at its worst.

 

RIGA, October 2 (RIA Novosti)

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