Latvians going to polls to elect representatives to European Parliament

Voters in Latvia are going to the polls on Saturday to elect their eight representatives to the European Parliament, with candidates from the ruling center-right parties expected to win most.

Polling stations across Latvia and also at Latvia’s diplomatic missions in several foreign countries opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) and will close at 8 p.m. local time (1700 GMT).

In early voting which took place from Wednesday to Friday, 11.16 percent of the eligible voters had already cast their ballots.

“This is a time of dynamic change. It is therefore especially important for us to elect the best candidates, those who will be worthy representatives of Latvia in a strong and united Europe,” Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis said in an address to voters on the eve of the elections, urging everyone to take part in the polls.

“There are many issues that we cannot resolve on our own. It takes a strong and united Europe to deal with challenges created by migration, security, technological revolution and climate change,” the president said.

A total of 16 Latvian political parties are fielding their candidates in this year’s European Parliament elections, as many as in the last parliamentary elections.

A total of 246 candidates are running, which means that there are more than 30 candidates competing for each seat on average.

The latest public opinion polls conducted in the run-up to the elections suggest that two parties of Latvia’s center-right government coalition are likely to receive most support, followed by the opposition left-wing Harmony party.

Further down the list come the ruling liberal alliance For Development/For, the ruling New Conservative Party, the opposition Greens and Farmers Union and the Progressives. All these eight parties are among the hopefuls to get one mandate each in the European Union legislature.