The Social Democratic Party "Harmony" (Latvian: Sociāldemokrātiskā partija "Saskaņa", SDPS, Russian: Социал-демократическая партия «Согласие», romanized: Sotsial-demokraticheskaya partiya «Soglasiye», СДПС),[nb 1] also commonly referred to as Harmony (Saskaņa), is the largest party seeking to represent the Russian-speaking population of Latvia. The party was founded in 2010 as the merger of the National Harmony Party (TSP) with New Centre (JC) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), a breakaway from the Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party (LSDSP). At that time, all three were members of the former electoral alliance Harmony Centre. The alliance also included the communist Socialist Party of Latvia. The Daugavpils City Party merged into the party in 2011.
The former chairman of the party, Nils Ušakovs served as the Mayor of Riga from 2009 to 2019 and was the "Harmony" candidate for the office of Prime Minister of Latvia in 2014. In the Saeima the party has 24 out of 100 seats after polling 23% of the vote at the 2014 parliamentary election. Its parliamentary group is therefore the largest among the six groups in the Latvian Parliament, and the leading opposition group. Internationally, "Harmony" is a member of the Progressive Alliance and the Party of European Socialists. After the 2014 European Parliament elections its sole MEP, Andrejs Mamikins, sat in the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament. In 2018, after disagreements with Ušakovs, he defected to the Latvian Russian Union and the party lost its representation in the European Parliament until the 2019 elections, when Ušakovs and his ally, former Vice Mayor of Riga Andris Ameriks (a member of Honor to serve Riga!) were elected.
"Harmony" is the largest party seeking to represent the Russian-speaking population of Latvia.
On social policy, the party contains strong conservative elements in line with its voter base, setting it apart from the contemporary European social-democratic mainstream. The parliamentary membership is not uniformly socially conservative, however.
The party has strong ties with the Russian parties, in particular with United Russia (with which Harmony had a cooperation from 2009 to 2017) and A Just Russia. These ties were strongly criticized by Latvian liberals and nationalist parties, which have consequently ruled out the possibility of an alliance with Harmony.
The party has been a member of the Progressive Alliance since its inception and was an observer member of the Socialist International from 2014 until its withdrawal in 2017.
In an attempt to improve its image, in 2017 Harmony joined the Party of European Socialists and announced that its cooperation agreement with United Russia has lapsed and had not been renewed.
Symbols and logos
- ^ The party officially translates its name as Social Democratic Party "Concord"
- ^ Saskaņa dibina jauniešu organizāciju «Restart.lv»; žurnālistus izraida no sanāksmes (in Latvian), TV NET (www.tvnet.lv), retrieved on March 13, 2015
- ^ Klūga, Māris (January 3, 2018). "What's up with Latvia's feeble civic engagement?". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
- ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2018). "Latvia". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
- ^ a b Hanley, Sean L (October 8, 2014). "Latvia's elections: Can there be harmony without Harmony?". University College London. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
- ^ a b "Parliament of Latvia rejects petition for partnership legislation". ILGA-Europe. July 1, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- ^ a b c "Saskaņa joins Party of European Socialists". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. LETA. November 27, 2017. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
- ^ Tom Lansford (April 8, 2014). Political Handbook of the World 2014. SAGE Publications. pp. 811–812. ISBN 978-1-4833-3327-4.
- ^ Kaža, Juris (August 14, 2018). "Who is who in upcoming Latvian parliamentary elections". Re:Baltica. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
- ^ Daugavpils partija iekļaujas 'Saskaņā'; SC veidos divi spēki
- ^ "Ušakovs and Rubiks removed from board of Harmony". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
- ^ "Parties & Organisations". Progressive Alliance. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
- ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-11-03. Retrieved 2015-11-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- ^ "MEP about Riga Mayor's desires: maybe all three of his wives should be given jobs?". Baltic News Network. May 28, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- ^ "Riga's ex-mayor and ex-vice-mayor receive posts in EP committees". Baltic News Network. July 4, 2019. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
- ^ "Opposition Saskaņa party reveals economist and preacher as spearheads". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. June 18, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- ^ "Saeima approves lessons in 'constitutional morality' for schoolchildren". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. June 18, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- ^ "Latvia's Harmony party: no plans to end agreement with Putin's United Russia". The Baltic Times. January 22, 2015. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
- ^ "Socialist International - Progressive Politics For A Fairer World". Socialist International. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
- ^ "Saskaņa quietly ditches Putin party agreement". Rīta Panorāma. Public Broadcasting of Latvia. October 9, 2017. Retrieved October 9, 2018.