President asks Emsis to form government

After giving political parties 24 hours to come to terms on who should run the country, Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga has called on Indulis Emsis to form a new government, according the media reports.

The invitation comes despite attempts by current Prime Minister Einars Repše, who resigned Feb. 5, to convince the president that he should be allowed to form a new government or that parliament should be dismissed and new elections held.

After four conservative parties, which together control three-fourths of the 100-seat parliament, failed to rally around a candidate for prime minister, Vīķe-Freiberga on Feb. 19 gave them just 24 hours to come to terms. When the parties still couldn’t decide on a candidate, the president announced her choice in a Feb. 20 press conference.

Emsis, of the conservative Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība (Union of Greens and Farmers), is deputy chairman of his party’s board and a member of parliament. Born in 1952, he graduated in 1975 with a degree in biology from the University of Latvia and worked in the forestry business for many years. Among his areas of concern are environmental policy.

Latvian media reported generally favorable reaction to the selection of Emsis, with many politicians viewing him as a good compromise candidate who can form an effective conservative government. However, the Repše-led Jaunais laiks (New Era) party announced it won’t participate in the new government if any of the ministerial portfolios are offered to Latvijas Pirmā partija (Latvia’s First Party). The conservative Christian party and Jaunais laiks have been sparring for months, a situation that in part led to the fall of the government.

Once Emsis names his ministers, the government will have to be approved by parliament. Until that time, Repše’s government continues in power.


Indulis Emsis

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *