Latvia's conservative Vienotiba (Unity) bloc is leading in presidential elections in Latvia, according to preliminary results published by the country's central election commission early on Sunday, RIA Novosti reported.
A total of 1,013 polling stations opened in Latvia and abroad on Saturday to cater to some 1.5 million voters. By 3:00 Moscow time Sunday [23:00 Saturday GMT] a total of 902 stations have already submitted their results to the commission.
The results show that Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis still enjoys much popularity in Latvia. He took the job in 2009 when the global economic downturn was at its worst, with the country's GDP contracting by a quarter and the unemployment rate soaring to double digits.
The Vienotiba bloc of Dombrovskis received 30.68% of the vote.
Opinion polls earlier predicted that the opposition Saskanas Centrs (Harmony Center), which seeks to mend strained ties with Russia, is likely to win the elections amid growing public anger at the country's recent austerity measures.
But the party, representing the Russian-speaking majority, is only second with 24.76% of the vote.
The Greens and Farmers and For Fatherland and Freedom party, a member of the ruling coalition, comes third, with 20.53% of the vote.
For Human Rights in United Latvia, a party protecting the rights of Russian-language Latvian minority, failed to clear the 5% threshold with only 1.4% of the vote.
A total of 13 political parties and movements took part in Saturday's elections.
The turnout stood at 62.62%, with a total of 934,076 citizens casting their ballots.