chapter  6
17 Pages

Short-lived coalitions in Latvia

Ethnic tension, political fragmentation, and office-seeking
WithJānis Ikstens

A proportional representation electoral system, combined with a diverse society, has resulted in varied and volatile coalition politics in Latvia. Although the country’s political parties represent many of the same policy debates found in other democracies, one factor that has played a dominant role is Latvia’s ethnic cleavage. Government coalitions have included a large number of parties with a wide range of policy positions (that are often in opposition to one another), which has resulted in volatile and short-lived cabinets. However, government instability has not negatively affected policy implementation, and the pattern of political competition has not changed since the reinstitution of democracy in 1991.