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RIGA - The decision by the Union of Greens and Farmers to nominate the bloc's board chairman, Armands Krauze, as their candidate to Riga mayor, signals hope for a new ruling coalition in the Riga City Council after the local elections in June this year, said Ojars Skudra, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Latvia.
Theoretically, two new coalition models are possible in the Riga City Council, the political scientist said.
Under one of those models, a right-wing nationalist, center-right or right-wing list headed by a strong candidate may show good results in the local elections which would make possible creation of a four-member coalition that would include three of the coalition parties in the current Latvian government - Greens/Farmers, the Unity and the National Alliance.
However, Skudra doubts that such coalition, led by a yet unknown but brilliant candidate, could win the majority in the Riga City Council. It might only happen if Russia made some foreign policy move that would scare the ethnic Latvian voters in Riga, he said.
The other option is that Krauze would agree to a cooperation with the leftist pro-Russia Harmony party, which currently rules in the Riga City Council, in case the Harmony won the elections only by a narrow margin and needed additional votes in the city council just to be on the safe side.
Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis (Greens/Farmers) has rejected the possibility of a coalition with the Harmony, and Krauze in his public statements has also denied the likelihood of entering into a coalition with the Harmony but Skudra pointed out that it would be "plain idiocy" on part of politicians to declare their willingness to form a coalition with the Harmony before the elections, especially, if the Harmony showed very good results in the elections and therefore had no need for new partners.
On January 23 the board of Greens/Farmers decided to name the bloc's board chairman, Armands Krauze, as its leader for the local elections of the Riga City Council, and Krauze reiterated that the Greens/Farmers would not enter into a coalition with the Harmony after the next local elections in June this year.
The Harmony together with its coalition partner, Honor To Serve Riga (GKR), has been ruling the Riga City Council for the second successive four-year term.