Latvian president decides to entrust third government formation attempt to New Unity

On Monday, 7 January, Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis decided to entrust the third attempt to form a government in the country to New Unity’s prime minister candidate Krišjānis Kariņš.

Vējonis told journalists that Kariņš has been entrusted with development of the government’s declaration. The president stressed that the proposed five-party coalition should be ‘cooperative’ in the formation process.

As it is known, the president met with leaders of political parties engaged in the government formation process this Friday, 4 January.

Kariņš has been holding frequent meetings with parties in the past several weeks, discussing with them aspects of the government formation process. So far he has secured support of 50 Saeima deputies. Support from KPV LV remains the decisive question, as this party has yet to make up its mind.

Representatives of five parties confirmed to the president that they are ready to support Kariņš as prime minister of Latvia, Attīstībai/Par! co-chairman Daniels Pavļuts told journalists after meeting with the president. He said Kariņš’s government has confident support in the Saeima. At the same time, there is a lot of work left for the government declaration.

During the conversation with the president it was mentioned that politicians need two weeks to perform the necessary tasks. If everything goes well, the vote for the approval of the new government could take place in the ‘20s’ of January, said Pavļuts.

New Unity in the parliament is represented by only eight deputies – it is the smallest faction in the 13th Saeima.

Kariņš has proposed forming the government with five parties – New Unity, New Conservative Party, KPV LV, Attīstībai/Par! and National Alliance. It was initially planned to include the Union of Greens and Farmers in government talks, but because of red lines of certain parties, talks with this party were discontinued.

Aside from the prime minister’s post, Kariņš offers for his party to take over Finance Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry. New Unity had said from the start that Edgars Rinkēvičs could remain Latvia’s Foreign Affairs Minister. Candidates for the Finance Minister’s post include Jāņis Reirs and Arvils Ašeradens.

Attīstībai/Par! has decided to pick Artis Pabriks for the post of Defence Minister. Juris Pūce will be the party’s candidate for the post of Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister. Ilze Viņķele is picked as the party’s candidate for the post of Healthcare Minister. National Alliance has decided to nominate Dace Melbārde as the candidate for the post of Culture Minister and Kaspars Gerhards for the post of Agriculture Minister.

NCP has picked Ilga Šuplinska for the post of Education and Science Minister and Anita Muižniece for the post of the ministry’s parliamentary secretary. The party has also picked Jānis Bordāns for the post of Justice Minister and Tālis Linkaits for the post of Transport Minister.

Parties started arguing after the offer regarding division of seats in the government was presented, because KPV LV wanted Aldis Gobzems to become Interior Affairs Minister. The problem was that he was not provided a permit to access official secrets. Kariņš rejected him. KPV LV later picked a different candidate – Sandis Ģirģens. Didzis Šmits has been picked for the post of Economy Minister and Ieva Krapāne – for the post of Welfare Minister.

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