Vike-Freiberga to begin coalition talks on Monday

  • 2004-11-17
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA - President Vaira Vike-Freiberga said last week she would launch talks with all parliamentary parties on forming a new government on Monday after the four-day holiday weekend.

Spokeswoman Aiva Rozenberga said the president would probably stick to the usual pattern of consulting with the largest factions first and then moving on to smaller factions and that it was unclear whether a second-round of consultations would be necessary.

Meanwhile, centrist and right-wing parties - which together hold some 80 seats in the 100-member Parliament - are conducting their own talks, though no clear consensus has emerged despite the fact that more than three weeks have passed since the minority government of Prime Minister Indulis Emsis was toppled.

The latest reports maintain that both New Era, which has 24 seats and the highest popularity rating, and the People's Party, which has 20, both want to have the prime minister's seat. Leader of the People's Party Atis Slakteris said that his party would have a better chance at running the next government, because New Era already had the chance during the previous government that stepped down in February, while New Era's leader, Einars Repse, said a member from his party would be best because he or she could "introduce new principles in state administration."

This impasse has given rise to speculation that the president might have to choose a compromise candidate from another party - perhaps Latvia's First Party or an independent - who would be most capable of forming a new Cabinet of Ministers.

Ainars Slesers, leader of Latvia's First, said on Tuesday that he would ask Vike-Freiberga for the mandate to compile the new government, though he declined to say which candidate the party would propose for the PM's seat.

However, other observers have said that New Era and the People's Party would not allow the next prime minister to come from another party. Maris Grinblats, chairman of the right-wing For Fatherland and Freedom, which has seven seats, told the Baltic News Service would not allow this to happen. He also said that New Era's parliamentary faction chairman, Krisjanis Karins, would be a good compromise figure.

The current was toppled on Oct. 28 when the largest coalition partner, the People's Party, sided with the right-wing opposition in voting against the draft 2005 national budget.