Latvian Government Wins Election, Painful Reforms Ahead
Latvia's center-right government was poised to stay in power Sunday after voters backed its plans to continue painful reforms required by an international bailout program to fix the Baltic country's crippled economy, the Associated Press reported. With about 98 percent of precincts counted, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis' minority coalition had mustered more than 57 percent of the vote in Latvia's parliamentary election Saturday. That would likely give it more than 60 seats in the 100-member legislature. Dombrovskis' centrist Unity bloc finished first with 31 percent of the vote, while a pro-Russia opposition party, Harmony Center, came in second with 26 percent. "The existing coalition parties will begin talks on forming a new government," he told reporters as the results came in. The 39-year-old Dombrovskis, one of Europe's youngest prime ministers, took office in March 2009 after a wave of unrest related to Latvia's double-digit recession led to the collapse of the previous coalition. He has promised further austerity measures to comply with the terms of a a euro7.5 billion ($10.3 billion) bailout package designed by the International Monetary Fund and European nations to help Latvia stave off bankruptcy. Latvia's economy started nose-diving in 2008, plunging 25 percent in two years - the worst drop in the European Union. Read more.