LATVIA
Parliamentary Chamber: Saeima

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2002

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Chamber:
  Saeima


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  5 October 2002


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  Voters went to the polls on 5 October 2002 in general elections held less than two months before the NATO Prague Summit at which the country was expected to receive an invitation to join the Atlantic alliance. This membership possibility was one of the main issues during the electoral campaign as was the country's accession to the European Union, with a referendum on this subject to be held in September 2003.

A few days before the elections, on 2 October 2002, the Criminal Police Chief asked to be relieved of his duties while an investigation continued into a possible slander campaign directed at deputies of the People's Party. Prime Minister Andris Berzins had already dismissed the Interior Minister (from the People's Party) for allegedly misusing the police force for political aims. He did so following a request by deputies of the Latvia's Way for prosecutors to investigate allegations that two of its employees had arranged for the printing of defamatory leaflets against deputies of the People's Party. The Prime Minister, who is also Latvia's Way Chairman, had charged the Interior Minister with using unsubstantiated allegations to undermine the reputation of Latvia's Way for campaign purposes.

Some 72 per cent of eligible voters turned out for elections and cast their ballots for 20 parties and 1,019 candidates.

According to official results, six parties had cleared the five per cent threshold needed to secure seats in the 100-member parliament. All of these parties are centre/centre-right parties with the exception of the leftist For Civil Rights in a United Latvia (PCTVL), which also enjoys strong support within the Russian minority. The outgoing Latvia's Way disappeared from the parliamentary scene as it did not gain any seat.

On 5 November 2002, Parliament held its first sitting and the Union of Greens and Farmers' Chairwoman Ms. Ingrida Udre was elected as its new Speaker.

On 4 November 2002, following a month of negotiations, four parties reached agreement on the composition of a coalition government led by the New Era leader, Mr. Einars Repse. The coalition, which controls a combined 55 of the 100 parliamentary seats, comprises the New Era, the Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS), Latvia First Party (LPP), and For the Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK (TB/LNNK).

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (5 October 2002): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 1 395 287
Voters 997 754 (71.51 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 7 342
Valid votes 990 412

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
New Era (JL) 237 452 23.98
For Civil Rights (PCTVL) 189 088 19.03
People's Party (TP) 165 246 16.63
Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS) 93 759 9.43
Latvia First Party (LPP) 94 752 9.54
Conservative Union for Fatherland and Freedom (TB/LNNK) 53 396 5.37

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
New Era (JL) 26
For Civil Rights (PCTVL) 25
People's Party (TP) 20
Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS) 12
Latvia First Party (LPP) 10
Conservative Union for Fatherland and Freedom (TB/LNNK) 7

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 79
Women: 21
Percent of women: 21.00

Distribution of seats according to age:  
21 to 30 years 9
31 to 40 years 21
41 to 50 years 35
51 to 60 years 23
61 to 70 years 10
More than 70 years 2


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Copyright 2002 Inter-Parliamentary Union