RIGA - The People's Party and New Era have still been unable to come to an agreement on forming a new right-wing government, leading the latter, the country's most popular party, to issue an ultimatum to the coalition member.
Leaders of the two parties met on Wednesday but did not come to any kind of agreement.
They told the press they would keep working on it, but New Era leader Einars Repse said they the party wanted a clear answer from the People's Party in two weeks.
"In order to do a good job on next year's budget, the government has to be formed right now and without delay," he said.
Many of his recent comments on the People's Party have been caustic and could be complicating negotiations. In his words, the current government - consisting of the People's Party, Latvia's First Party and the Greens and Farmers Union - was "taking the country back into the swamp of corruption."
The words apparently annoyed Atis Slakteris, leader of the People's Party, who said the government was correcting the mistakes of the previous Repse-led Cabinet.
If the People's Party does not make up its mind in two weeks, New Era, which has 26 seats in Parliament, would take this as an unwillingness to create a joint government, added the former prime minister.
His deputy, Krisjanis Karins, stressed that the two parties' stance on most issues was identical, but they consisted of people with two different mentalities.
Atis Slakteris, leader of the People's Party, which has 20 seats in Parliament, said the coalition partner was not convinced whether it was possible to create a better government New Era.
The party, in his words, was "cautiously optimistic."
If the two parties were to agree, they would need the oppositionist and New Era-friendly For Fatherland and Freedom party, which has seven seats in Parliament. This would give the theoretical right-wing government the necessary 54-seat majority.