National Harmony Party
|National Harmony Party
Latvian: Tautas Saskaņas partija,
Russian: Партия народного согласия
|Dissolved||10 February 2010|
|Merged into||Social Democratic Party "Harmony"|
Russian minority politics
|National affiliation||Harmony Centre|
|European Parliament group||Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (2009-2010)|
|Colours||Maroon and white|
|Politics of Latvia
The party identified itself as a social-democratic party. It supported further liberalisation of the citizenship law by granting citizenship to each non-citizen who had lived in Latvia for at least 10 years. (The present law only allows most of them to apply for citizenship through the process of naturalization). It also supported expanding education in minority languages (mainly Russian).
The roots of the TSP lay within the moderate wing of Popular Front of Latvia, the Latvian independence movement of late 1980s and early 1990s. Its leader, Jānis Jurkāns, was the first Minister of Foreign Affairs of newly independent Latvia, from 1990 to 1992 when he had to leave the government for his stance on relations with Russia. Together with other activists, Jurkāns founded the Harmony for Latvia (Saskaņa Latvijai - Atdzimšana Tautsaimniecībai) alliance, which won 13 seats (out of 100) in the 1993 parliamentary election. The alliance split in 1994, with the free-market liberal wing becoming the Political Union of Economists and the social-democratic wing becoming the National Harmony Party. Jānis Jurkāns served as its leader from then until 2005, when he resigned. The party's last Chairman was Jānis Urbanovičs.
Since its foundation, the party was popular with ethnically Russian voters for its moderate views on issues of citizenship and state language. Unlike the other parties popular with Russians, it also had a considerable amount of ethnic Latvians in its leadership and was attempting to bridge the gap between the two communities. It won 6 seats during 1995 parliamentary election. In 1998, it allied with two other predominantly Russian parties, Latvian Socialist Party and Equal Rights, both of which held more radical pro-Russian positions. This step seriously damaged the reputation of TSP amongst ethnic Latvians. The three parties founded the For Human Rights in United Latvia alliance. At the legislative elections, on 5 October 2002, the alliance won 18.9% at the popular vote, gaining 25 of the 100 seats in the Saeima. In 2003, TSP left the alliance. It won no seats during the European Parliament elections in 2004, and in 2005 also lost its representation at the Riga City council.
In 2005, the party entered the alliance Harmony Centre, as did the Latvian Socialist Party, one of its former partners in the For Human Rights in United Latvia. Harmony Centre won 17 seats in the 2006 elections. The National Harmony Party merged into the Social Democratic Party "Harmony" on 10 February 2010.