Kasekamp: Russian Aggression Consolidated Latvians (1)
Russian tactics in Ukraine had an effect on Latvian parliamentary elections, bringing the ruling coalition more votes, said University of Tartu Baltic politics professor Andres Kasekamp.
“We already saw this in the spring when the pro-Russian Harmony party recorded a far lower result at the European Parliament election than was expected. And the Harmony Center suffered one of the biggest drops again this time,” Kasekamp said on ETV's “Välisilm” on Monday, adding that all the ruling coalition parties increased their share.
Kasekamp said the Latvian and Estonian political landscapes are similar in the sense that the pro-Russian party in Latvia is left-wing, while all ethnic Latvian parties are on the right. Only right-wing parties have ever formed coalitions in Latvia. He said the Harmony party has said its inclusion in government would bring Latvians and Russians closer.
In 2011, the former President of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers, whose Reform Party came second in elections that year, said a coalition with the Harmony party is possible, Kasekamp said, adding that after that statement many Reform Party members left the party.
Kasekamp said the situation today is similar, and any coalition with Harmony would lead to internal revolts in ethnic Latvian parties. He said the situation is abnormal and can not last forever, but as Harmony has close ties to Moscow and United Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin's party, it will currently remain in opposition.