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Recession-Hit Latvians Reelect Coalition

Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, whose coalition was reelected, has pledged to continue his government's austerity program.

Voters in Latvia have reelected the Baltic country's center-right government -- giving the coalition a further opportunity to implement austerity measures to pull the country out of one of the world's worst recessions.

Nearly complete official results show the government of Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis winning the October 2 election with nearly 59 percent of the vote -- a result that would give the coalition control of almost two-thirds of the 100-seat parliament.

The results show the left-wing opposition Harmony Center, which has a traditional base in Latvia's Russian-speaking minority, finishing with around 25 percent of the vote.

"I'd like to thank the voters for their support, for the confidence they showed in the current economic and foreign economy and foreign policy directions,” Dombrovskis said.

“So certainly, we expect to continue with our current policies. And I think there are two positive things about these elections -- first, voters have voted for stability, and second, they quite clearly rejected populism."

The Latvian economy contracted by 18 percent in 2009 in the world's steepest recession of recent years.

The country of some 2.2 millon people has received a 7.5-billion euro bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund to help it avoid bankruptcy.

compiled from agency reports