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Union of Greens and Farmers (Latvian: Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība, ZZS) is an agrarian-conservative political alliance in Latvia. It consists of two political parties: the Latvian Farmers' Union (LZS) and the Latvian Green Party (LZP). It is the fifth-largest bloc in the Saeima. The Union of Greens and Farmers also cooperates closely with two localist parties: For Latvia and Ventspils and the Liepāja Party.
Although the ZZS encompasses green politics, usually considered centre-left or left-wing in the context of Western and Central Europe, it may be considered a centrist Nordic agrarian alliance, or even explicitly nationalist and anti-liberal in orientation, with antisemitic elements. While the alliance's formal leader is Armands Krauze, its leading figure and chief financial supporter is the oligarch Aivars Lembergs.
The ZZS has had the world's first prime minister, Indulis Emsis (Prime Minister of Latvia in 2004), and first head of state, Raimonds Vējonis (President of Latvia 2015–19), to be affiliated with a Green Party.
The alliance was established to contest the 2002 parliamentary election by the Latvian Green Party (LZP) and Latvian Farmers' Union (LZS). It ran on an ideologically amorphous agenda and won 12 out of 100 seats in the parliament. In March 2004, Indulis Emsis from the LZP became the Prime Minister of Latvia until December of that year.
On a European level, the LZP cooperated with the European Green Party while the LZS has no formal affiliation. Before the 2004 European Parliament election, ZZS announced that if its representative was elected, he or she would join one of two political groups depending on which party they belonged to.
The alliance continued for the 2006 parliamentary election, and won 18 seats. It became part of the governing coalition, and LZP chairman Indulis Emsis, who served as Prime Minister briefly in 2004, became Speaker of the Saeima.
Aivars Lembergs was the candidate of the Union of Greens and Farmers for the position of Prime Minister in 2006, before being charged with corruption, fraud, bribery, money laundering and abuse of elected office on 20 July 2006. On 14 March 2007, Lembergs was detained by the Latvian authorities in relation to a criminal investigation.
At the 2014 European Parliament election, the ZZS won 8.3% of the vote and for the first time one of Latvia's European Parliament seats. Its MEP is Iveta Grigule who initially sat with the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFFD) group. On 16 October 2014 Grigule defected from the EFDD to sit as an independent. This move required EFDD to co-opt a member of Poland's Congress of the New Right to remain eligible for parliamentary group status. In April 2015 she joined the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group.
In the 2015 presidential election, the alliance's then-leader Raimonds Vējonis became President of Latvia and subsequently resigned his leadership of the alliance.
The Union of Greens and Farmers is based on similar sentimental feelings shared by the voters of the two groups. Latvians are supportive of traditional small farms and perceive them as more environmentally friendly than large-scale farming: Nature is threatened by development, while small farms are threatened by large industrial-scale farms. For example, after the restoration of independence, Latvia broke down Soviet-era collective farms and returned land to its original owners (or their descendants). This perception has resulted in an alliance between green and farmer's parties, which is rare in other countries.
The alliance is Eurosceptic, although not opposed to Latvian membership of the European Union. The ZZS opposed the adoption of the euro by Latvia. The party opposes granting non-citizens Latvian citizenship or voting rights in local elections.
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