Political dejection in divided society: a challenge for Latvia’s democracy?

Timofey Agarin, Ryo Nakai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Ethnically divided societies often seek political cohesion by pursuing nationalizing policies. Latvia scores some success, for example, the notion that citizens should speak the national language and respect government institutions coincides with portrayals of ethnic minorities as a challenge to democracy. The focus on nation-state building has resulted in persistently low levels of political engagement and public confidence among the citizenry. Public survey data shows that many voters believe their concerns have been neglected by elected representatives, who have fixed their attention on ethnopolitical issues. While we see no demonstrable correlation between ethnicity and levels of political dejection, ethnonational politics explains unstable voter–representative relations and electoral volatility during the Saeima elections from 2010 to 2018. These unanticipated effects of nation-state building on Latvia’s electoral politics invite a rethinking of the relationship between voters and their elected representatives in democratically consolidated, yet divided nations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Baltic Studies
Publication statusAccepted - 20 May 2020

Keywords

  • Divided Society
  • Political Participation
  • Democratic Consolidation
  • political representation
  • Latvia

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