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Latvia’s Biggest Opposition Party Won’t Seek Referendum on Euro

Harmony Center, the biggest party in Latvia’s parliament that is in opposition, won’t seek a referendum on the country’s plan to adopt the euro next year.

“Harmony Center considers delaying the ‘Euro adoption policy law’ to be an irresponsible action” since an elected parliament made the decision, Janis Urbanovics, the party’s parliamentary leader, said in an e-mailed statement today. Still, the government should allow a referendum given the low level of public support for the switchover, he said.

Lawmakers on Jan. 31 cleared the path for Latvia to apply for euro-area membership starting Jan. 1. Two-thirds of the country opposes the move, according to a December survey by the polling company TNS, which asked 1,024 Latvians and didn’t give a margin of error.

Harmony’s 31 deputies sticking to the party line would mean that a referendum initiative by Iveta Grigule, a lawmaker for Union of Greens and Farmers, a fellow opposition party, will probably fall short of the required 34 signatures in the 100- member legislature.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Eglitis in Riga at aeglitis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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