Veto ousts nationalists from new government; 2 parties remain in talks

A nationalist political alliance will not be part of a new government for Latvia after all, leaders of the Vienotība (Unity) group have decided.

Just days after agreeing to include the nationalist alliance Visu Latvijai! – Tēvzemei un Brīvībai/LNNK (All for Latvia! – For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK), the centrist Vienotība found itself backtracking after disagreement arose in its ranks about the makeup of the new government.

In an Oct. 22 press conference, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said that the nationalists and the center-right Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība (Union of Greens and Farmers, or ZZS) would join his Vienotība in the new government. The nationalists even were promised the justice minister’s portfolio. All that remained was for the three political forces to agree on how the rest of the ministerial portfolios would be allocated and for President Valdis Zatlers to formally invite Dombrovskis to form the new government.

However, on Oct. 25 one of the three parties that make up Vienotība, Sabiedrība citai politikai (Association for a Different Politics, or SCP), vetoed the notion of giving the nationalists a voice in the government.

That will leave just Vienotība and ZZS to form the new government. With 55 seats in the new Saeima, the two-party coalition government would still have a majority, but significantly thinner than the 63 seats it would have had with the nationalists in tow.

The nationalists at first were not going to be part of the government, but after agreeing to subsume their political agenda to that of the coalition government, were invited to join Vienotība and ZZS.

SCP leader Artis Pabriks labeled the nationalists as “monopolists of patriotism” who are opposed to persons who are not ethnic Latvians, according to media reports.

Meanwhile, Visu Latvijai! finds itself in a battle over its public image. After suggestions that the party had taken money from the Chechen community in Latvia, Visu Latvijai! leaders turned to the prosecutor general’s office and the Security Police to help determine who is behind the rumors, according to an Oct. 22 posting on the party’s website.

Earlier plans to bring the center-left and pro-Russian Saskaņas Centrs (Harmony Centre) into the government also collapsed. Saskaņas Centrs in the Oct. 2 Saeima electon won control of 29 seats in the new parliament.

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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