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Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party

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Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party
Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā Strādnieku Partija
LeaderJānis Dinevičs
FounderPauls Kalniņš (1918)
Valdis Šteins (1989)
Founded17 June 1918; 105 years ago (1918-06-17)
2 December 1989; 34 years ago (1989-12-02) (refoundation)
Banned15 May 1934; 89 years ago (1934-05-15)
Split fromSocial-Democracy of the Latvian Territory
HeadquartersRiga, Lāčplēša iela 60, LV-1011
Youth wingSocial Democratic Youth Union
Membership (2017)633[1]
IdeologySocial democracy[2]
Political positionCentre-left
National affiliationUnion of Greens and Farmers[3]
European affiliationParty of European Socialists (observer)[4]
International affiliationSocialist International (1994–2014)
Colours  Maroon
Slogan«Give a hand, together we will succeed!»
(Latvian: «Sniedz roku, kopā mums izdosies!»)
2 / 100
European Parliament
0 / 8

The Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party (Latvian: Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā strādnieku partija, LSDSP) is a social-democratic[2] political party in Latvia and the second oldest existing Latvian political party after the Latvian Farmers' Union. It is currently represented with two seats in the parliament of Latvia as a part of the Union of Greens and Farmers alliance after an absence of 20 years. The party tends to hold a less Russophilic view than fellow social-democratic party "Harmony".[citation needed]


Founding, interwar Latvia, under authoritarianism and occupation

The Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party was founded on 17 June 1918, by 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 the 1920 Constitutional Assembly (Satversmes Sapulce). It won the most seats in each of four parliamentary elections of that period (31 out of 100 in 1922, 33 in 1925, 26 in 1928 and 21 in 1931). The leader of the LSDSP, Pauls Kalniņš, was speaker of the 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.

The party was a member of the Labour and Socialist International between 1923 and 1940,[5] and was admitted into the modern Socialist International in 1994.[6]

The LSDSP was banned after the 1934 coup by Kārlis Ulmanis, together with all other political parties. Around 320 prominent members were briefly interned in the Liepāja Concentration Camp and then released. After the coup, the party loosely merged with the Latvian Communist Party from 1937 to 1940 as the Socialist Workers and Peasants Party of Latvia and went underground, only to re-emerge briefly after the Soviet occupation of 1940, nearly instantly being banned and driven underground by the Soviet and, later, Nazi occupiers. Some Social Democrats briefly collaborated with the Soviets (e.g. Ansis Rudevics [lv]), however, many, including leaders Fricis Menders [lv] and Brūno Kalniņš, joined with other democratic politicians and called for the restoration of democratic Latvian statehood. LSDSP members, like Pauls Kalniņš and others, were involved with the Latvian Central Council resistance group.[7] When many Latvians left Latvia during World War II, the LSDSP was restored as an "exile organization", operating in Sweden since 1945, and later in other Western countries.

The Swedish-based section - the LSDSP Foreign Committee (LSDSP ĀK) - managed to secure its observer status at the Socialist International during its existence.

Return to Latvia, activities 1990–2010

When Latvia became independent again in 1991, the LSDSP returned to Latvia. In the early 1990s, it struggled with internal splits. At one point, Latvia had three social democratic parties, two of them being descendants of the LSDSP, and the third being the reformed faction of the former Communist Party of Latvia (LSDP). Eventually, all three parties merged, under the name of the LSDSP.

The merged party enjoyed some success in the parliamentary election of 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 election, 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 the LSDSP's popularity continued as the party lost the mayor's seat in Riga in the 2005 municipal election (keeping 7 seats in the Riga City Council but forced into the opposition). The parliamentary election of 2006 brought even more dissatisfying results for the LSDSP, as the party got 3.5% of votes and thus got no representation in the parliament once again.


For the 2010 parliamentary election, the LSDSP formed the Responsibility Alliance with smaller parties, but their performance was poor, receiving less than 1% of the vote. In January 2011, Aivars Timofejevs [lv], who was supported by the outgoing leader Jānis Dinevičs [lv], was elected as party chairman. He defeated Ansis Dobelis, who was more aligned with youth activist circles and later formed The Progressives.[8][9] His tenure did not improve the party's performance, with the LSDSP not running in the 2014 parliamentary election. By 2017, Dinēvičs had returned to lead the party.[10] At the 2018 election, the party received just 0,21% of the vote.

2022 brought a historic turn for the party, when on June 1 it joined the Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS) after the Latvian Green Party had left the alliance, as the second member of ZZS is the Farmer's Union, LSDSP's main rival in the 1920s and 1930s.[11] In the 2022 elections, the party managed to get two of its members elected on the ZZS list, marking a return to the Saeima after an absence of 20 years.

In 2012, the Socialist International demoted LSDSP to observer member for not paying membership fees. The party was officially delisted from the Socialist International in December 2014. It currently maintains the status of observer member in the Party of European Socialists.

Election results

Legislative elections

Election Party leader Performance Rank Government
Votes % ± pp Seats +/–
1920 Andrejs Petrevics 274,877 38.67 New
57 / 150
New 1st Opposition
1922 Jānis Pliekšāns 241,947 30.56 Decrease 8.11
30 / 100
Decrease 27 Steady 1st Coalition
1925 Pauls Kalniņš 260,987 31.37 Increase 0.81
32 / 100
Increase 2 Steady 1st Opposition
1928 226,340 24.34 Decrease 7.03
25 / 100
Decrease 7 Steady 1st Opposition
1931 186,000 19.23 Decrease 5.11
21 / 100
Decrease 4 Steady 1st Opposition
Banned 1934-1990 under the Ulmanis regime and the Latvian SSR
1993 Egils Baldzēns 7,416 0.66 New
0 / 100
New 17th Extra-parliamentary
1995[a] Jānis Dinevičs 43,599 4.58 Increase 3.92
0 / 100
Steady 0 Increase 10th Extra-parliamentary
1998[b] Jānis Ādamsons 123,056 12.88 (#5) Increase 8.30
14 / 100
Increase 14 Increase 5th Coalition
2002 Juris Bojārs 39,837 4.02 Decrease 8.86
0 / 100
Decrease 14 Decrease 8th Extra-parliamentary
2006 Jānis Dinevičs 31,728 3.52 Decrease 0.50
0 / 100
Steady 0 Steady 8th Extra-parliamentary
2010[c] 6,139 0.65 Decrease 2.87
0 / 100
Steady 0 Decrease 10th Extra-parliamentary
2011 2,531 0.28 Decrease 0.37
0 / 100
Steady 0 Decrease 11th Extra-parliamentary
2014 Aivars Timofejevs did not contest Extra-parliamentary
2018[d] Jānis Dinevičs 1,735 0.21 Decrease 0.07
0 / 100
Steady 0 Decrease 14th Extra-parliamentary
2022[e] 113,676 12.58 Increase 12.37
2 / 100
Increase 2 Increase 2nd Opposition (2022-2023)
Coalition (2023-)
  1. ^ Labour and Justice (DuT) list, coalition between LSDSP, LSDP and Taisnība
  2. ^ Latvian Social Democratic Alliance (LSDA) list, coalition between LSDSP, LSDP and LDP
  3. ^ Responsibility list, coalition between LSDSP, Our Land, and Latvijas Atmoda and STP
  4. ^ SKG Alliance list, coalition between LSDSP, KDS, and GKL
  5. ^ Union of Greens and Farmers list, coalition between LZS, LuV and LSDSP

Symbols and logos

See also


  1. ^ "Latvijā partijās daudzkārt mazāk biedru nekā Lietuvā un Igaunijā. Kāpēc tā?" (in Latvian). 2 January 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b Nordsieck, Wolfram (2007). "Latvia". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 8 October 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  3. ^ Saeimas vēlēšanās Zemnieku savienības un LSDSP kopīgais premjera amata kandidāts būs Viktors Valainis
  4. ^ "PES member parties | PES". Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  5. ^ Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985.
  6. ^ James C. Docherty; Peter Lamb (2 October 2006). Historical Dictionary of Socialism. Scarecrow Press. pp. 203–. ISBN 978-0-8108-6477-1.
  7. ^ Social Democracy Country Studies - Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (English summary)
  8. ^ Egle, Ināra (31 January 2011). "Sociāldemokrātu vecā gvarde notur varu". Diena. Retrieved 14 August 2022.
  9. ^ Waele, Jean-Michel de; Escalona, F.; Vieira, M. (30 April 2016). The Palgrave Handbook of Social Democracy in the European Union. Springer. p. 474. ISBN 978-1-137-29380-0.
  10. ^ "LSDSP - Dienas personība - LSDSP priekšsēdētājs Jānis Dinevičs" [Today's personality - LSDSP Chairman Jānis Dinevičs]. (in Latvian). Retrieved 14 August 2022.
  11. ^ "Saeimas vēlēšanās Zemnieku savienības un LSDSP kopīgais premjera amata kandidāts būs Viktors Valainis". (in Latvian). Retrieved 14 August 2022.
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Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party
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