RIGA, October 5 (RIA Novosti) - Latvian opposition Social Democratic Party Harmony, also referred to as Social Democratic Party Concord, takes a lead in Latvian parliamentary elections, with 70 percent of votes counted, Latvia's Central Electoral Commission said on Sunday.
According to the preliminary results, the Harmony (Concord) Party, the Union of Greens and Farmers agrarian political alliance and the Unity Party have received the majority of the votes.
According to the data, obtained from 494 polling stations out of 1054, the opposition Party Harmony (Concord) received 23.46 percent of the votes, while the Union of Greens and Farmers received 22.77 percent and the Unity Party – 22.15 percent.
Latvian parliament, also called the Saeima, is a unicameral parliament, consisting of 100 members, elected by proportional representation. Seats are allocated to political parties that managed to gain at least 5 percent of votes.
Since last elections in 2011, 31 Saeima seats have been taken by the Harmony Center (Concord Center), a political alliance, comprising the Social Democratic Party Harmony and the Socialist Party of Latvia. Social-Democratic parties in Latvia back stronger ties with Moscow.
Currently about 2 million people live in the Republic of Latvia. Some 1,5 million of them have the right to vote. Still about 320,000 people were not able to participate in the current parliamentary elections. These are the Russian-speaking "non-citizens."
The Latvian parliament created the category of "non-citizen" in 1991, largely for Russians, who moved to the country while it was a socialist republic within the Soviet Union. Non-citizens are not considered stateless persons under Latvian law, but lack full rights, with the main restriction, depriving "non-citizens" of the right to vote.
The Social Democratic Party Harmony is a Latvian center-left political party, which stands for the protection of national minorities and against discrimination of any kind.