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(RFE/RL) October 7, 2006 -- Latvians voted today in the first parliamentary elections since joining the European Union two years ago.

Nineteen parties fielded more than 1,000 candidates for the 100 seats in parliament. Under Latvia's electoral system, parties that get more than 5 percent of the votes cast will enter parliament.

Recent opinion polls predict a win for the center-right parties that make up Latvia's current government. No single party is expected to obtain a majority.

By 4 p.m. local time, less than 42 percent of the country's 1.45 million eligible voters had cast ballots. Previous turnout has been high, with more than 70 percent casting ballots in the last election.

Final results are expected early on October 8.

(compiled from agency reports)
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