I’d sworn that the last post about the Latvian general election would be a one-off. However, Daina in the comments for that one mentioned that the figures for polling districts abroad were available on the central elections commission’s website. I’ll admit, my curiosity got the better of me and after a few days of tabulating it, I thought I’d put the results here.
There were three things that interested me. Do Latvian expats generally vote the same way that those based in the motherland do? Are there parties which do better in some regions abroad rather than others? Lastly, does the expat vote make a difference to the result?
The foreign boxes came from a number of more exotic locations like Santiago de Chile, Beijing, Cairo, Dubai and Delhi, but, in the main, were from older and newer Latvian expat favourites like The USA, Canada, Scandinavia, UK, Ireland and Australia.
Overall, nearly 23,000 Latvian expats voted, which made up 2.5% of those voting. That would be the same as nearly 800,000 Brits abroad voting in the UK general election, so it’s not an insignificant number. So, to answer my first question, here, in percentages, are how expats voted compared to those still in Latvia.
|Greens and Farmers||8||20|
|For Latvia (Sudraba)||4||7|
Unity and the Regional Alliance were the biggest beneficiaries, with a modest boost for the National Alliance as well. Harmony were the biggest losers, followed by the Greens.
So, secondly, what were the results for each country?
The figures below are ranked by the number of people who voted in each country, with percentages for each party shown after that.
|United Arab Emirates||90||22||21||17||19||13||4|
|Central Africa military||38||32||13||13||11||13||13|
There are definite regional patterns. In North America (USA and Canada) the figures were broadly the same, Unity got a majority of votes with the National Alliance taking about a third of the vote and the other parties splitting the rest between them to end with a dismal vote share. In Australia, it was similar for the smaller parties, but Unity and National Alliance were very close in terms of votes.
Harmony did best, unsurprisingly, in Russia, where they took a majority of the votes. After that, they were close on a quarter of the votes in Belarus, Ukraine, The Czech Republic and Lithuania.
Ukraine was an interesting one and the results there reflect its polarisation in the real world. It was the only country (except for Egypt, where only 8 people voted) where the National Alliance, who take a harder line against Russia, outpolled Unity, who came third behind Harmony.
The Regional Alliance had a good showing abroad, especially in north-west Europe. In the UK, Ireland, Iceland, The Netherlands and the 3 Scandinavia countries, they were polling around 25% or higher. These countries also produced relatively better showings for the Greens/Farmers, who otherwise failed to excite the expats. Sudraba’s list only managed to excite a few of the soldiers in the Central African peace keeping mission.
Ultimately, there was one difference to the composition of parliament that came out of the results. The Regional Alliance gained an extra seat on the basis of the expat vote at the expense of Harmony. In fact, had the election been a little closer, it could have cost Harmony first place. Proof then, that no matter where you live, your vote does make a difference.