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Latvia's Ruling Coalition to Remain in Power


Latvia's Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis is seen at the State Department in Washington (File Photo)

Latvia's Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis is seen at the State Department in Washington (File Photo)

According to partial results and exit polls, Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis has won re-election and can now form a new majority government.

Latvia Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis says he will talk to his coalition partners about creating a majority government after partial results showed that his coalition partners won about 60 percent of the vote in Saturday's election. They currently rule as a minority government.

Prime Minister Dombrovskis leads Latvia's Unity Party.

"First of all I would like to thank the voters for their support, for the confidence they showed in the current economic and foreign economy and foreign policy directions. So certainly we expect to continue with our current policies," he said. "And I think there are two positive things about these elections - first, voters have voted for the stability, and second, they quite clearly rejected populism."

The vote is a triumph for Mr. Dombrovskis who took Latvia through severe budget cuts and tax hikes in order to meet the terms of a nearly $10.5 billion bailout by the International Monetary Fund. Latvia was one of the countries hardest hit by the global financial crisis.

Mr. Dombrovskis says the tiny Baltic country has a tough road ahead.

"Certainly, there are positive feelings about winning the elections, but I also realize that there is still serious work ahead," he said.

More austerity measures await the country with a little more than two-million residents. The center-right government is faced with following the IMF-led steps targeted for 2012.

Prime Minister Dombrovskis' main challenge came from the left-leaning Harmony Center Party, with roots in Latvia's ethnic-Russian minority. Harmony Center hoped Latvians would be so upset over the financial crisis and how the government handled it, that ethnic Latvians would cast their vote for Harmony Center.

Early results put the party in second place. Critics had warned that voting for the party would eventually give Moscow a stealth vote in the European Union and NATO.

Mr. Dombrovskis says he will meet with coalition partners Sunday about forming a ruling government. He says he will also meet with Harmony Center about possible cooperation.

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