Unity (Latvian: Vienotība) is a liberal-conservative political party in Latvia and a member of the New Unity political alliance. It is currently the largest party of the centre-right in Latvian politics. It was the leading party in the Dombrovskis and Straujuma cabinets from its inception in 2010 until February 2016; it is a member of the current coalition since January 2019 with its member Krišjānis Kariņš as Prime Minister. Unity is a member of the European People's Party (EPP).
Its current Chairman of the Board since 19 August 2017 is the former Minister for Economics of Latvia, Arvils Ašeradens, who succeeded former European Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
Origins, governing and coalition party
The party was founded as an electoral alliance of the New Era Party, Civic Union, and the Society for Political Change on 6 March 2010. It was reportedly founded in a bid to form a counterweight to the left-wing Harmony Centre alliance, which had been strengthening in polls and elections, while the other right-wing parties (People's Party, For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK and LPP/LC) were below the electoral threshold of 5%.
The alliance, led by incumbent Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis from New Era, achieved a victory in the 2010 parliamentary election, despite the austerity measures enacted by his cabinet during the Great Recession of the late 2000s. Unity led the coalition with ZZS as junior partner until 2011.
On 6 August 2011 the alliance was transformed into a single political party. In the 2011 snap elections, the party came in third, but held on to the PM post in a coalition with the Zatlers' Reform Party and the National Alliance.
After five years in office, Valdis Dombrovskis resigned as PM after the Zolitūde tragedy in early 2014. He was succeeded by party colleague Laimdota Straujuma, who brought ZZS back into her coalition. For the 2014 general election, Unity announced an electoral pact with the Reform Party, which was later followed by a full absorption in March 2015. The party improved on its previous result, coming in second at the polls and gaining 3 extra seats.
The second Straujuma cabinet, however, lasted only for about a year. After the demise of the Straujuma cabinet in late 2015, the party suffered from internal conflicts and defections of MPs to other political parties, undermining its ratings. Nevertheless, it remained as the largest parliamentary party in the ZZS-led Kučinskis cabinet and it held 5 ministerial portfolios from early 2016 to 2018.
After the October 2018 parliamentary elections, New Unity – an alliance formed in April between Unity and five regional parties – became the smallest faction in the parliament with 8 seats out of 100. In January 2019, however, Krišjānis Kariņš became Prime Minister of Latvia, leading a coalition consisting of five of the seven parties represented in the parliament, excluding only the Harmony party and the Union of Greens and Farmers.
- ^ The New Unity list won 2 seats, both of which went to Unity
Symbols and logos
- ^ Vienotiba/Youth, Unity (www.jaunavienotiba.lv), retrieved on 13 March 2015
- ^ "What's up with Latvia's feeble civic engagement?". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. 3 January 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
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- ^ EPP/Latvia, European People's Party (www.epp.eu), retrieved on 28 March 2012
- ^ "Legal entity". Register of Enterprises of the Republic of Latvia. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
- ^ Kjetil Duvold (2017). "When Left and Right is a Matter of Identity: Overlapping Political Dimensions in Estonia and Latvia". In Andrey Makarychev; Alexandra Yatsyk (eds.). Borders in the Baltic Sea Region: Suturing the Ruptures. Springer. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-352-00014-6.
- ^ "New leader at the helm of Unity party". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- ^ "New leader of Latvia's Unity party calls for reconciliation among members, fresh start". The Baltic Times. 5 June 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
- ^ Unity has potential, but faces rocky road Archived 17 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Latviansonline.com (14 March 2010). Retrieved on 19 September 2011.
- ^ Harmony Centre is Most Popular Latvian Party | Angus Reid Public Opinion Archived 9 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Angus-reid.com. Retrieved on 19 September 2011.
- ^ ""Unity" tops Latvian elections". The Baltic Times. 3 October 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
- ^ Kolyako, Nina (3 October 2010). "Unity wins elections in Latvia". The Baltic Course | Baltic States news & analytics. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
- ^ Apollo – Ziņas: Izveidota partija «Vienotība» Archived 8 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Apollo.lv. Retrieved on 19 September 2011.
- ^ 'Vienotība' un RP vienojas par kopīgu startu 12.Saeimas vēlēšanās, LETA, 27 December 2013, accessed 21 September 2014
- ^ "Kampars: Unity is accused of not taking interest in society's woes aka the arrogance created by Āboltiņa's symbol". Baltic News Network. 10 November 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- ^ "Unpopular MP booted from Unity party". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. 6 November 2017. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- ^ "Political expert: Unity will not disappear just yet". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- ^ Kaža, Juris (14 August 2018). "Who is who in upcoming Latvian parliamentary elections". Re:Baltica. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
- ^ Reuters Staff (23 January 2019). "Latvia's Karins confirmed as PM, ending lengthy political deadlock". Reuters. Retrieved 15 April 2021.