People's Party wants more pull in coalition

  • 2004-06-17
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA – Prime Minister Indulis Emsis almost immediately caved in on June 29 to public hints from the People's Party that it wanted a bigger presence in the Cabinet of Ministers, saying he was willing to give the party the Transport Ministry.

Emsis spoke just hours after People's Party faction head Aigars Kalvitis said that the right-wing party wanted more say in the Cabinet. Currently the People's Party has only five seats on the Cabinet, compared to seven for Latvia's First Party and the Greens and Farmers four posts (including the prime minister's post).
Kalvitis said that the Transport and Interior ministries, both of which are currently occupied by Latvia's First Party, would suit the coalition's dominant party.
Emsis, a member of the Greens and Farmers Union who head the minority coalition, has come under more frequent attacks in recent weeks by right-wing parties. What's more, the Greens and Farmers and Latvia's First Party failed to break the 5 percent barrier in the Europarliament elections, suggesting that the populace was increasingly disillusioned with the Emsis government.
What's more, right-wing opposition parties New Era and For Fatherland and Freedom, which did well in the Europarliament elections, have been courting People's Party to join in a new coalition force that would sweep the centrists and left-of-center politicians out of power.
So far, however, the People's Party has resisted the temptation despite its falling popularity and instead requested more authority in the government. Analysts say the People's Party is feeling increasingly vulnerable as part of the ruling coalition but will wait until municipal elections later this year to make a final decision on whether to stay.