Latvian coalition talks drag on into third week

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjanis Karinš
Latvian Prime Minister Krišjanis Karinš Source: Office of the Government of the Republic of Estonia

Coalition negotiations in Latvia are continuing into a third week, with the parties involved hoping that the pace of talks will start to pick up soon, reports Latvian national broadcaster LSM.

New Unity (JV), led by Prime Minister Krišjanis Karins, which won the highest share of the votes (18.97 percent) in the parliamentary elections earlier this month, will meet with representatives of the Progressives, United Latvian List (LAS) and National Alliance (NA) this week, with negotiations centering on whether the new government will ultimately contain three or four parties. According to LSM, neither NA nor United LAS are in favor of including the Progressives in a ruling coalition.

Prime Minister Kariņš believes, that the parties forming Latvia's next government must be on the same page when it comes to a number of issues, including wider support for education and science. They also need to strengthen national security and fight corruption, LSM reports.

NA board member Jānis Dombrava thinks, that there is no reason not to form a three-party coalition and that work should begin on preparing a draft government declaration to that end.

"There are issues about which we have a very similar vision to New Unity, so they could already be put down in a government declaration (right away), rather than starting the discussions from square one," said Dombrava.

However, LAS leader Edvards Smiltēns said, that while the points upon which the prospective coalition partners ought to agree are self-evident, even more should be added to those outlined by Kariņš.

"Energy resources and prices must be on the list of priorities, at least for the first five-year period as should crisis management. The government is totally unprepared," Smiltēns said.

On Monday, Latvian President Egils Levits ordered Karinš to continue negotiations with potential coalition partners. The president wants the next government to last for a term of four years. According to Levits, the new government can only be formed from a combination of three or four parties.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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