Union of Greens and Farmers

The Union of Greens and Farmers (Latvian: Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība, ZZS) is an agrarian political alliance in Latvia.[3] It is made up of the Latvian Farmers' Union and Latvian Green Party and it closely cooperates with For Latvia and Ventspils and Liepāja Party.

Union of Greens and Farmers
Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība
ChairmanEdgars Tavars
Founded25 July 2002; 19 years ago (2002-07-25)
HeadquartersLielirbes iela 17a-30, Riga
Membership (2017)2,254[1][2]
Political positionCentre to centre-right
International affiliationGlobal Greens
  •   Green
  •   Yellow
10 / 100
European Parliament
0 / 8
11 / 43

It is positioned in the centre[4][5] or centre-right on the political spectrum.[6][7] It is orientated towards conservative,[8] soft Eurosceptic policies,[9] and green politics,[10] and it can be considered a centrist Nordic agrarian alliance,[7] with nationalist and anti-liberal elements.[11][12][13]

While the alliance's formal leader is Edgars Tavars, its leading figure and chief financial supporter is the oligarch Aivars Lembergs.[14] The ZZS has had the world's first prime minister, Indulis Emsis (Prime Minister of Latvia in 2004), and first head of state, Raimonds Vējonis (President of Latvia 2015–19), to be affiliated with a green party.[15]


The alliance was established to contest the 2002 parliamentary election by the Latvian Green Party (LZP) and Latvian Farmers' Union (LZS).[15] 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.[15]

On a European level, the LZP cooperated with the European Green Party while the LZS has no formal affiliation. Before the 2004 European Parliament election, ZZS announced that if its representative was elected, he or she would join one of two political groups depending on which party they belonged to.

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

At the 2014 European Parliament election, the ZZS won 8.3% of the vote and for the first time one of Latvia's European Parliament seats. Its 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.[16] In April 2015 she joined the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group.[17]

In the 2015 presidential election, the alliance's then-leader Raimonds Vējonis became President of Latvia and subsequently resigned his leadership of the alliance.


The Union of Greens and Farmers is based on similar sentimental feelings shared by the voters of the two groups. 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 Soviet-era collective farms and returned land to its original owners (or their descendants).[18] This perception has resulted in an alliance between green and farmer's parties, which is rare in other countries.

The alliance is Eurosceptic,[9] although not opposed to Latvian membership of the European Union. The ZZS opposed the adoption of the euro by Latvia. The party opposes granting non-citizens Latvian citizenship or voting rights in local elections.[19]


Name Ideology Position Leader Saeima MEPs
Latvian Farmers' Union
Latvijas Zemnieku savienība
Centre Armands Krauze
5 / 100
0 / 8
For Latvia and Ventspils
Latvijai un Ventspilij
Regionalism Centre Aivars Lembergs
2 / 100
0 / 8
1 / 100
0 / 8
Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party
Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā Strādnieku Partija
Social democracy Centre-left Jānis Dinevičs
0 / 100
0 / 8

Former MembersEdit

Name Ideology Position Leader Saeima MEPs Time
Latvian Green Party
Latvijas Zaļā partija
Green politics
Social conservatism
Centre to centre-right Edgars Tavars
2 / 100
0 / 8
Liepāja Party
Liepājas Partija
Localism Centre-right Uldis Sesks
2 / 100
0 / 8

Election resultsEdit


Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Government
2002 Ingrīda Ūdre 93,759 9.47 (#5)
12 / 100
2006 Aivars Lembergs 151,595 16.81 (#2)
18 / 100
  6 Coalition
2010 190,025 20.11 (#3)
22 / 100
  4 Coalition
2011 Raimonds Vējonis 111,957 12.33 (#5)
13 / 100
  9 Opposition
2014 178,210 19.66 (#3)
21 / 100
  8 Coalition
2018 Māris Kučinskis 83,675 9.97 (#6)
11 / 100
  10 Opposition

European ParliamentEdit

Election Leader Votes % Seats +/–
2004 Baiba Rivža 24,467 4.28 (#8)
0 / 8
2009 29,463 3.79 (#10)
0 / 8
2014 Andris Bērziņš 36,637 8.32 (#4)
1 / 8
2019 Dana Reizniece-Ozola 25,252 5.37 (#6)
0 / 8

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "What's up with Latvia's feeble civic engagement?". LSM.lv. 3 January 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Latvijā partijās daudzkārt mazāk biedru nekā Lietuvā un Igaunijā. Kāpēc tā?" (in Latvian). LSM.lv. 2 January 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  3. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2018). "Latvia". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Māris Kučinskis nominated as Latvian prime minister". POLITICO. 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2021-11-20.
  5. ^ "Ethnic Russians have big influence in Latvian election". Associated Press. 6 October 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Tom Muller, ed. (2012). Political Handbook of the World 2012. SAGE. p. 814. ISBN 978-1-60871-995-2.
  7. ^ a b Tāre, Ineta (2010). Labour Law in Latvia. London: Kluwer Law International. p. 15. ISBN 978-90-411-3325-0.
  8. ^ Stephanie Daimer (2006). "Latvia and the EU constitution: a pragmatic "yes"". In Thomas König; Simon Hug (eds.). Policy-Making Processes and the European Constitution: A Comparative Study of Member States and Accession Countries. Routledge. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-134-17336-5.
  9. ^ a b Stalker, Peter (2007). A Guide to Countries of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-19-920271-3.
  10. ^ "Latvia poised to gain its first female prime minister". POLITICO. 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2021-11-20.
  11. ^ David J. Galbreath; Daunis Auers (2010). "Green, Black and Brown: Uncovering Latvia's Environmental Politics". In David J. Galbreath (ed.). Contemporary Environmentalism in the Baltic States: From Phosphate Springs to 'Nordstream'. Routledge. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-317-96590-9.
  12. ^ Jeffrey Sommers (2014). "Austerity, internal devolution, and social (in)security in Latvia". In Jeffrey Sommers; Charles Woolfson (eds.). The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model. Taylor & Francis. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-317-80014-9.
  13. ^ Auers, Daunis (May 2012). "The curious case of the Latvian Greens". Environmental Politics. 21 (3): 522–527. doi:10.1080/09644016.2012.671579. ISSN 0964-4016.
  14. ^ Goehring, Jeannette (2007). Nations in Transit 2007: Democratization from Central Europe to Eurasia. London: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 404. ISBN 978-0-932088-26-0.
  15. ^ a b c Miranda Schreurs; Elim Papadakis, eds. (2019). Historical Dictionary of the Green Movement. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-5381-1960-0.
  16. ^ "Farage's EFDD group collapses". 16 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Liberals and Democrats adopt Latvia's stray MEP".
  18. ^ Hiltzik, Michael (16 September 1991). "Reclaiming the Past in the Baltics : Property owners are getting back what the Soviets took away decades ago. That makes tenants and farmers nervous and fearful". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  19. ^ Extra, Guus; Spotti, Massimiliano Andrea; 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 linksEdit