Next government of Latvia likely to be three-party coalition

The next government of Latvia likely will be a three-party coalition that will include representation from a nationalist group, officials of Vienotība (Unity) have announced.

Barriers to including the nationalist Visu Latvijai! – Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/LNNK (All for Latvia! – For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK), which some critics have said is too far to the right, have disappeared. The nationalists are expected to join Vienotība and the Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība (Union of Greens and Farmers, or ZZS) in the new government.

Participation of the nationalists in the new government was cleared after VL-TB/LNNK agreed to pursue its issues—such as citizenship and status of the Latvian language—only with the agreement of all coalition partners.

In addition, the new government would have one ministry less, according to an announcement posted Oct. 22 on Vienotība’s website. The Ministry for Regional Development and Local Government Affairs would be dismantled and its functions handed to the Ministry of the Environment.

President Valdis Zatlers, on a state visit to China, has yet to formally ask Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovsksis to form the new government, but the invitation is expected soon. The new Saeima, which convenes Nov. 2, will have to confirm the new government. The three parties in the proposed coalition control 63 seats in the 100-deputy parliament, so approval of a new Dombrovskis government seems assured.

With the proposed liquidation of the regional development ministry, the new government would be left with 13 ministerial posts to fill. According to party announcements and media reports, Vienotība and ZZS could each take six ministries, while VL-TB/LNNK has been offered the justice minister’s portfolio.

ZZS, according to an announcement on the party’s website, would keep control of the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Welfare. Negotiations with Vienotība continue about other portfolios.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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