Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party
|Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party
Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā Strādnieku Partija
|Youth wing||Social Democratic Youth Union|
|International affiliation||Socialist International (observer)|
|European affiliation||Party of European Socialists (observer)|
|European Parliament group||None|
|Politics of Latvia
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party (Latvian: Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā Strādnieku Partija, LSDSP) is a centre-left, social democratic party in Latvia. It has a long history but is not represented in the current parliament of Latvia.
The Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party was founded on 17 June 1918, by the Menshevik elements who had been expelled from the Social Democracy of the Latvian Territory in 1915. Once Latvia became independent, LSDSP was one of the two most influential political parties (along with the Latvian Farmers' Union). LSDSP held 57 out of 150 seats in 1920 Constitutional Assembly (Satversmes Sapulce). It won most seats in every of 4 parliamentary elections of that period (31 out of 100 in 1922, 33 in 1925, 26 in 1928 and 21 in 1931). The leader of LSDSP, Pauls Kalniņš, was the speaker of Latvian parliament from 1925 to 1934.
The party itself, however, would often be in opposition because of many smaller right-wing parties forming coalition governments, typically led by the Latvian Farmers' Union.
LSDSP was banned after the 1934 coup by Kārlis Ulmanis, together with all other political parties, and remained banned after the Soviet annexation in 1940. When many Latvians left Latvia during World War II, LSDSP was restored as an "exile organization" operating in Sweden in 1945 and, later, other Western countries as well.
When Latvia became independent again in 1990, LSDSP returned to Latvia. In early 1990s, it struggled with internal splits. At one point, Latvia had 3 social democratic parties, two of them being descendants of LSDSP and the third being the reformed faction of former Communist Party of Latvia (LSDP). Eventually, all three parties merged, under the name of LSDSP.
The merged party enjoyed some success in parliamentary elections in 1998, winning 14 seats out of 100 and in local elections in 2001, when one of its members, Gundars Bojārs became the mayor of Riga. It was less successful in the next legislative elections, held on 5 October 2002, where it got only 4% of the vote, and did not make the 5% minimum to get seats. The decline of LSDSP's popularity continued as the party lost the mayor's seat in Riga in 2005 municipal elections (keeping 7 seats in the Riga City Council but forced into the opposition). The parliamentary elections of 2006 brought even more dissatisfactory results for LSDSP as the party got 3.5% of votes and thus got no representation in the parliament once again.
The party is led by Aivars Timofejevs, as of November 2011.
- Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985.
- Official website (Latvian)