Union of Greens and Farmers

Union of Greens and Farmers (Latvian: Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība, ZZS) is an agrarian-conservative[6] political alliance in Latvia. It consists of two political parties: the Latvian Farmers' Union (LZS) and the Latvian Green Party (LZP). It is the fifth-largest bloc in the Saeima. The Union of Greens and Farmers also cooperates closely with two localist parties: For Latvia and Ventspils and the Liepāja Party.

Union of Greens and Farmers

Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība
ChairmanEdgars Tavars (ZZS)
Founded2002 (2002)
Membership (2017)2,254[1][2]
Green conservatism
Political positionCentre[3] to centre-right[4][5]
International affiliationGlobal Greens (LZP)
11 / 100
European Parliament
0 / 8

Although the ZZS encompasses green politics, usually considered centre-left or left-wing in the context of Western and Central Europe, it may be considered a centrist Nordic agrarian alliance,[5] or even explicitly nationalist and anti-liberal in orientation,[7] with antisemitic elements.[8] While the alliance's formal leader is Armands Krauze, its leading figure and chief financial supporter is the oligarch Aivars Lembergs.[9]

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.[10]


The alliance was established to contest the 2002 parliamentary election by the Latvian Green Party (LZP) and Latvian Farmers' Union (LZS).[10] 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.[10]

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.[11] In April 2015 she joined the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group.[12]

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).[13] This perception has resulted in an alliance between green and farmer's parties, which is rare in other countries.

The alliance is Eurosceptic,[14] 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.[15]

Electoral resultsEdit


Election year # of overall votes % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/- Government
2002 93,759 9.5 (#5)
12 / 100
2006 151,595 16.8 (#2)
18 / 100
  6 Yes
2010 190,025 20.1 (#3)
22 / 100
  4 Yes
2011 111,955 12.2 (#5)
13 / 100
  9 Opposition
2014 176,922 19.74 (#3)
21 / 100
  8 Yes
2018 83 675 9,92 (#6)
11 / 100
  10 Opposition

European ParliamentEdit

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

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. ^ a b Nordsieck, Wolfram (2018). "Latvia". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  4. ^ Tom Muller, ed. (2012). Political Handbook of the World 2012. SAGE. p. 814. ISBN 978-1-60871-995-2.
  5. ^ a b Tāre, Ineta (2010). Labour Law in Latvia. London: Kluwer Law International. p. 15. ISBN 978-90-411-3325-0.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Goehring, Jeannette (2007). Nations in Transit 2007: Democratization from Central Europe to Eurasia. London: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 404. ISBN 978-0-932088-26-0.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Farage's EFDD group collapses". 16 October 2014.
  12. ^ "Liberals and Democrats adopt Latvia's stray MEP".
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Stalker, Peter (2007). A Guide to Countries of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-19-920271-3.
  15. ^ 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