The elections for Parliament (Saeima) are held every four years on the first Saturday in October. Since the renewal of state independence in 1990, nine parliamentary elections - in 1993, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018 as well as an early parliamentary elections in 2011 were held in Latvia.
The election system of Latvia similarly as the Latvian state after the renewal of independence has experienced a succession of changes. During this time there has been a transition from plurality election system applied in the Socialistic Republic of Soviet Latvia to proportional election system which was used during the period of the first Republic of Latvia in 1920s and 1930s.
In 1993, after a break of almost sixty-two years the first democratic parliamentary elections were held in Latvia. Multi-party system has stabilized in Latvia, legislation defining election administration process have been reestablished and improved. During this time more or less substantial changes have occurred regarding all the most important issues of election organization - election rights, procedure of submission and registration of candidate lists, rights and restrictions of candidates, the course of elections, calculation of results, formation of election commissions and procedure of appeal of decision of commissions.
Latvia has a proportional representation election system, the Parliament is elected by secret ballot and consists of 100 seats. The next Saeima elections (14th Saeima) will be held in October 2022.
All citizens of Latvia who have reached the age of 18 by election day have the right to vote unless any of the restrictions apply.
The Saeima elections are held in five constituencies: Riga, Vidzeme, Latgale, Zemgale and Kurzeme. In contrast to local government elections, Saeima elections are also held in those foreign countries where a substantial number of Latvia citizens reside. Thus, the Riga constituency also includes the electorate residing outside of Latvia.
The Saeima elections are held on one day and the polling stations are open for voters from 7.00 to 20.00, local time. A voter has the right to vote in any polling station in Latvia or abroad irrespective of his/her place of residence or registered address. Voters who reside abroad are able to vote by mail.
Voters who do not have a chance to cast their votes on the election day, have a possibility to submit ballots for safe-keeping three days prior elections. Polling stations where ballots can be submitted for safe-keeping are set up in cities and municipalities with at least 7500 eligible voters.
Voters unable to come to the polling station for health reasons, caregivers of these voters and caregivers of ill persons can apply for off-site voting. In the Saeima elections, voting is organized also for soldiers serving in international operations and for voters in penitentiaries.
Any legally registered political party or association of political parties may submit a list of candidates for Saeima. Any citizen of Latvia who has reached the age of 21 by election day may be nominated as a candidate, unless any of the restrictions apply (see Saeima Election Law, Article 5).
Four months before election day the Central Election Commission determines the number of Saeima seats for each of the five constituencies, based on the Population Register statistics.
Only those list of candidates which have received at least 5% of the total number of votes cast in all five election constituencies will be elected to the Saeima.