Voter turnout in Latvia topped 44 percent in the July 23 national referendum on dissolving the Saeima, according to data compiled by the Rīga-based Central Election Commission shortly after polls closed at 10 p.m. local time.
Now the counting begins, but the result will likely be that 100 MPs will be out of a job and will start planning their campaign for the expected September elections.
In all, about 682,000 citizens voted, with turnout especially strong along the Gulf of Rīga, where many people were spending their weekend at a beach. Saulkrasti County, on the gulf’s eastern side, registered turnout that topped 150 percent thanks to voters from outside the district casting ballots there.
Turnout in Latgale province was the lowest at 34.83 percent, prompting one Twitter user to quip that if Latgale had a beach, voter activity would have been greater. The capital of Rīga also had comparatively low turnout: 38.49 percent. Vidzeme province had 54.38 percent turnout, followed by Kurzeme at 53.04 and Zemgale at 47.61 percent.
Results for voting abroad have just started to come in. Balloting continues in much of Europe and in the Americas, where polls remain open until 10 p.m. local time. However, results of the referendum are expected to be known well before the last vote is cast.