Low voter turnout in local elections an indication of apathy in nearly all Latvia - expert

  • 2021-06-06
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Low voter turnout in this year's local elections is an indication of political apathy in nearly all Latvia, Iveta Kazoka, a political scientist and director of Providus think tank, told LETA. 

Kazoka noted that in Latvia, voter turnout is usually stable in parliamentary elections and changeable in local elections. Besides, this year's municipal polls took place in very unusual circumstances. 

One of the reasons for the low turnout, in Kazoka's opinion, might be the fact that this year elections are not taking place in Riga, which usually is the "energizer" of election campaigns, drawing media attention and making more people to notice upcoming polls.

As for the local elections in Riga, which were held last summer, Kazoka said that voter turnout was low also in these elections as many voters of Harmony party who previously had voted for former mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony) stayed home this time. 

"Results and turnout are a serious problem because I am not sure that it can only be explained by Riga's nonparticipation in these elections and the times of Covid-19. There are deeper reasons that have to analyzed in the future," Kazoka said. 

As reported, 327,938 voters or 34.01 percent of eligible voters cast their votes in this year's local government elections, according to the Central Election Commission's data.

This is the lowest voter turnout since the restoration of independence.