Latvian President Andris Bērziņš has nominated current Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis to form the country’s next government, but he also suggested that all five political parties elected to the Saeima be included the coalition.
Bērziņš made the invitation on Oct. 19 after meeting with representatives of all parties, according to an announcement from the president’s press office.
The president’s invitation follows weeks of unsuccessful negotiations between the parties. The Zatlers Reform Party (Zatlera Reformu partija, or ZRP), Unity (Vienotība) and the National Alliance (Nacionālā apvienība “Visu Latvijai!” – “Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/LNNK”) announced Oct. 14 that they had come to terms on a three-party coalition that would be backed by 56 of the parliament’s 100 members. But two days later six ZRP MPs broke away from the party, throwing the solidity of the coalition in doubt.
Efforts to include the other two parties have run into objections. When the reformist ZRP at first tried to create a government with just the center-left Harmony Centre (Saskaņas Centrs), many voters protested that Harmony Centre’s pro-Russian stance cast doubt on its loyalty to Latvia. Efforts at broadening the coalition to include the centrist Unity and the right-wing National Alliance ran into trouble, too. The National Alliance has said it would not work with Harmony Centre. Meanwhile, ZRP leader and ex-president Valdis Zatlers has said his party would not work with the conservative Union of Greens and Farmers (Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība), which is seen as controlled by Latvia’s oligarchs.
Even a last-minute effort to strengthen the three-party coalition by inviting Jānis Duklavs of the Greens and Farmers to take the minister of agriculture’s portfolio in the new government—which would have earned the backing of his party’s 13 seats in the Saeima—was dropped after ZRP objected.
While Klāvs Olšteins and the other five MPs who split from Zatlers’ party have said they would back the Oct. 14 coalition model, the president has expressed his doubts.
Nontheless, Bērziņš said in his Oct. 19 announcement, the three-party coalition appears to be the only one that realistically could form the new government.
At the same time, the president’s invitation to Dombrovskis does not prevent the parties from working on an improved—and broader—model, according to the press office announcement.
“The first serious test of the would-be coalition’s ability to take action will be the vote on the state budget for 2012,” the president said, “which cannot become an experiment with the state and threaten the state’s international agreements.”
Once a coalition is assembled, Dombrovskis will have to present it to the Saeima for confirmation.
The new Saeima, elected Sept. 17, began work Oct. 17. Zatlers, who campaigned on ridding the parliament of the influence of oligarchs and on reforming government and politics, suffered his first defeat, losing in his bid to become speaker of the Saeima. Unity’s Solvita Āboltiņa, who served as speaker in the previous Saeima, was elected instead.
© 1995-2023 Latvians Online
Please contact us for editorial queries, or for permission to republish material. Disclaimer: The content of Web sites to which Latvians Online provides links does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Latvians Online, its staff or its sponsors.