Pro-Russian party tops Latvia vote, but no majority: poll

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A pro-Russian party topped Latvia's snap election Saturday with 28.71 percent vote in the ex-Soviet state but fell short of an outright majority in the EU member nation, an exit poll showed.

Analysts say Harmony Centre is unlikely to team up with the the new anti-corruption Zatlers Reform Party, led by ex-president Valdis Zatlers which came second with 20.31 percent support, the Baltic News Service poll showed.

The Unity bloc of incumbent centrist Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis ranked third with 19.16 percent.

The pro-Latvian National Alliance garnered 16.13 percent of the ballot while the Union of Greens and Farmers came fourth with 10.61 percent.

"The three parties consisting of the Zatlers Reform Party, Unity and the National Alliance are the most likely combination. There is a long tradition of keeping the Russians out and this is the most probable coalition," Ivars Ijabs, a University of Latvia political scientist told AFP.

"I don't see any incentives for Unity or the Zatlers party to take Harmony Centre into the coalition," he said.

Freshly elected President Andris Berzins, who was among early-bird voters Saturday, has said he will launch formal talks on the formation of a new government on September 28.

Official election results are expected to be announced Sunday afternoon.

© 2011 AFP

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