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Latvia elects new Parliament in election overshadowed by Ukraine crisis, Russia

  • A Latvian man casts his ballot papers at a polling station in Riga, Latvia, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. Latvian voters on Saturday cast ballots for a new Parliament in an election overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis and worries over how to deal with resurgent neighbor Russia. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov, F64 Photo Agency)

    A Latvian man casts his ballot papers at a polling station in Riga, Latvia, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. Latvian voters on Saturday cast ballots for a new Parliament in an election overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis and worries over how to deal with resurgent neighbor Russia. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov, F64 Photo Agency)  (The Associated Press)

  • CAPTION CORRECTS THE YEAR A Latvian man casts his ballot papers at a polling station in Riga, Latvia, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. Latvian voters on Saturday cast ballots for a new Parliament in an election overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis and worries over how to deal with resurgent neighbor Russia. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov, F64 Photo Agency)

    CAPTION CORRECTS THE YEAR A Latvian man casts his ballot papers at a polling station in Riga, Latvia, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. Latvian voters on Saturday cast ballots for a new Parliament in an election overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis and worries over how to deal with resurgent neighbor Russia. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov, F64 Photo Agency)  (The Associated Press)

  • CAPTION CORRECTS THE YEAR A Latvian woman casts his ballot papers at a polling station in Riga, Latvia, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. Latvian voters on Saturday cast ballots for a new Parliament in an election overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis and worries over how to deal with resurgent neighbor Russia. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov, F64 Photo Agency)

    CAPTION CORRECTS THE YEAR A Latvian woman casts his ballot papers at a polling station in Riga, Latvia, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. Latvian voters on Saturday cast ballots for a new Parliament in an election overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis and worries over how to deal with resurgent neighbor Russia. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov, F64 Photo Agency)  (The Associated Press)

Latvians are choosing a new Parliament in an election overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis and worries over how to deal with resurgent neighbor Russia.

The center-right coalition government, which welcomed the buildup of NATO forces in the region as protection against Russia, is pitted against the opposition Harmony party, a left-leaning group — supported mainly by the country's Russian-speaking minority — which favors balancing Latvia's Western orientation with stronger links to Moscow.

Recent polls have shown gains for Harmony which won the most votes in the last election in 2011, but the government was formed by a coalition of three center-right parties.

After regaining independence in 1991 following five decades of Soviet occupation, Latvia and Baltic neighbors Lithuania and Estonia turned West, joining NATO and the European Union in 2004.