Union of Greens and Farmers

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Union of Greens and Farmers
Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība
Leader Raimonds Vējonis (LZP)
Founded 2002 (2002)
Headquarters Riga
Ideology Agrarianism[1]
Green politics[1]
Euroscepticism
Political position Centre[1][2]
International affiliation Global Greens (LZP)
European affiliation European Green Party (LZP)
European Parliament group Non-Inscrits
Colours Green
Saeima
21 / 100
European Parliament
1 / 8
Website
www.zzs.lv
Politics of Latvia
Political parties
Elections

Union of Greens and Farmers (Latvian: Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība, ZZS) is a green and agrarian political alliance in Latvia. It consists of two political parties: the Latvian Farmers' Union (LZS) and the Latvian Green Party (LZP). It is the third largest bloc in the Saeima. The Union of Greens and Farmers also cooperates closely with two regional parties: For Latvia and Ventspils and the Liepāja Party.

In contrast to the most centre-left green political movements in Western and Central Europe, ZZS may be considered a centrist Nordic agrarian alliance.[2] While the alliance's formal leader is Raimonds Vējonis, its leading figure and chief financial supporter is Aivars Lembergs.[3]

History[edit]

The alliance was established before the 2002 parliamentary election. 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 scale, the Green Party cooperates with the European Green Party and the Farmer's Union has no formal affiliation. Before the 2004 European Parliament election, ZZS announced that, if its representative was elected, he would join one of the two groups, depending on which of the two Latvian parties he belonged to. ZZS failed to gather the 5% of votes necessary to gain a seat in the European Parliament and thus no ZZS member was elected.

The alliance continued for the 2006 parliamentary election, and won 18 seats. It became part of the governing coalition, and green party 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.

In the 2014 European Parliament election, the ZZS won 8.3% of the votes and one of Latvia's 8 seats. This was the first time a party from the ZZS had won a European Parliament seat. It's elected Member of the European Parliament (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.[4]

Ideology[edit]

The alliance is based on similar sentimental feelings shared by the voters of the two parties. 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 collective farms from the soviet era and returned land to the original private owners (or their descendants) from before the occupation. This perception has resulted in an alliance between green and farmer's parties, which is very rare in other countries.

The alliance is eurosceptic.[5] The party opposes granting non-citizens Latvian citizenship or voting rights in local elections.[6]

Electoral results[edit]

Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
2002 93,759 9.5 (#5)
12 / 100
2006 151,595 16.8 (#2)
18 / 100
Increase 6
2010 190,025 20.1 (#3)
22 / 100
Increase 4
2011 111,955 12.2 (#5)
13 / 100
Decrease 9
2014 176,922 19.74 (#3)
21 / 100
Increase 8

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Notes
2004 24,405 4.3 (#8)
0 / 9
2009 29,463 3.7 (#10)
0 / 8
2014 36,637 8.3 (#4)
1 / 8
Increase 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Parties and Elections in Europe, "Latvia", The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck". Parties & Elections. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Tāre, Ineta (2010). Labour Law in Latvia. London: Kluwer Law International. p. 15. ISBN 978-90-411-3325-0. 
  3. ^ Goehring, Jeannette (2007). Nations in Transit 2007: Democratization from Central Europe to Eurasia. London: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 404. ISBN 978-0-932088-26-0. 
  4. ^ http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/efdd-group-collapses/
  5. ^ Stalker, Peter (2007). A Guide to Countries of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-19-920271-3. 
  6. ^ Extra, Guus; van Avermaet, Piet (2007). A Guide to Countries of the World. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 47–48. ISBN 978-1-84706-345-8. 

External links[edit]