Latvians may elect a new premier to lead the country’s deficit-cutting government after a weekend referendum dissolved parliament and propelled a new party to the top of opinion polls.
Almost 95 percent of voters on July 23 backed former President Valdis Zatlers’s call to dismiss lawmakers as part of an anti-corruption drive. The wave that swept away parliament drove Zatlers’s Reform Party, founded in June, into a first- place tie with the pro-Russian Harmony Center in opinion polls, followed by Premier Valdis Dombrovskis’s Unity party.
Zatlers and Dombrovskis are seeking to weaken the so-called oligarchs who amassed wealth and power as the Baltic nation sold state assets after the Soviet Union collapsed. The former president, who has endorsed Dombrovskis’s austerity policies, has said he wants to nominate his own candidate for prime minister after the Sept. 17 general election.
“The referendum results will demonstrate not only the people’s attitude toward parliament, but will also show a support for Zatlers and his party,” Aigars Freimanis, a director at the Latvijas Fakti research company, said before the results were released. “It is possible that Dombrovskis won’t get the prime minister’s position again.”
The Reform Party and Harmony Center, which represents Russian speakers who make up almost a third of Latvia’s population, were each backed by 17.5 percent of those surveyed in a Latvijas Fakti poll published July 22 by the Baltic News Service. Unity ranked third at 11.7 percent, down from 14.7 percent in June.
Full Article: Latvia Referendum Dissolves Parliament – Bloomberg.