HELSINKI (AP) – Polls have opened in Latvia, where a party catering to the Baltic nation’s large ethnic-Russian minority is expected to place first in a parliamentary election.
Voters are choosing from a field of more than 1,400 candidates and 16 parties Saturday to fill Latvia’s 100-seat parliament, or Saeima.
Latvian public broadcaster LSM’s latest poll had the left-leaning Harmony party favoured by ethnic-Russians securing the greatest share of the vote, 17.2 percent.
Members of the minority account for about 25 percent of Latvia’s 2 million people, a legacy of nearly 50 years of Soviet occupation that ended in 1991. The country now is a NATO member.
The poll had Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis’ centrist Union of Greens and Farmers in second place, with 9.4 percent.