The social research company GFK has analyzed the results of the latest public opinion survey and estimated that Harmony Center could gain the most seats in the 11th Saeima - 38, said GFK Director Iluta Skruzkalne, reports LETA. Unity and Union of Greens and Farmers could gain 20 and 19 seats in Saeima, respectively. Zatlers’ Reform Party (ZRP) could gain 15 seats in the parliament, whilst All for Latvia!-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK (VL-TB/LNNK) - eight seats. According to the survey, the most popular candidate for prime minister was current Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity), who received support from 24 percent of respondents, followed by Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony Center) with 22 percent, and controversial Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs (For Latvia and Ventspils) with 18 percent. Three percent of respondents also chose Janis Urbanovics (Harmony Center). The survey was carried out from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1; polling 803 Latvian citizens of voting age.
Latvian residents’ opinions about the country’s gains from its European Union membership continue to worsen, reports LETA. Twenty-five percent of economically-active Latvian residents believe that Latvia has gained from its EU membership, whilst 37 percent believe the country has suffered losses, according to a study carried out by the market, social and media research company TNS Latvia and the LNT television channel. At the same time, 18 percent of respondents believe that Latvia has neither gained nor suffered losses from its membership in the EU. Twenty percent had no opinion. Half of residents have changed their opinion about Latvia’s gains/losses from its EU membership since the country’s accession. Twelve percent have become more positive about it, 39 percent more negative. Ten percent had no opinion. The study was carried out from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1; altogether, 800 economically-active residents ages 18 to 55 were interviewed.
There has been a slight reduction in the total number of schoolchildren in Latvia this year; however, there has also been a slight increase in the number of children beginning the first-grade, Education and Science Minister Rolands Broks (Union of Greens and Farmers) said in an interview to Latvian Radio on Sept. 1, reports LETA. The minister said that approximately 20,400 children are beginning the first-grade this year. Broks says that the reduction in the total number of schoolchildren is due to the demographic situation in the country, as well as to emigration abroad. The weekly news magazine Ir, in reference to information from the Central Statistical Bureau, writes that about 11,000 persons have emigrated from Latvia this year, which is about 4,000 more when compared to 2009. Ir also writes that there has been a substantial increase in the past ten years in the number of children who go to schools that teach in the Latvian language.