RIGA - Following a whirlwind series of 11th hour negotiations, four parties signed a declaration on Wednesday laying the foundation for a broad right-wing coalition.
The new government will consist of the People's Party, which led the Cabinet formation, New Era, Latvia's First Party and the Greens and Farmers Union. Together they will control 70 votes in the 100-member Parliament.
The declaration, which lists the most urgent tasks for the new Cabinet, came the morning after For Fatherland and Freedom, another right-wing party, had agreed to join the coalition without ally New Era, only to change its mind on Wednesday morning.
For Fatherland and Freedom said it would not sign either the coalition agreement or the government declaration and prefers that New Era to have the post of the municipal affairs minister that had earlier been assigned to the right-wing party that has seven seats in Parliament.
Party leader Janis Straume told the Baltic News Service that the party "has fulfilled its main task -- the two largest parties [New Time and the People's Party] are in the government."
"We think that the government will be able to work more efficient if the largest parties have more offices. This decision is in line with the resolution passed by the party council on Tuesday," he said.
He said that For Fatherland and Freedom, which won the Europarliament election in Latvia in June, would work together with the government though formally being in the opposition.
Prime minister designate Aigars Kalvitis expressed hope that his government would hold out until next parliamentary elections in 2006, as President Vaira Vike-Freiberga has called for. He promised that on Wednesday he will submit all required documents to the parliamentary presidium so that the lawmakers could vote on approval of the new government on Thursday.
According to the declaration, the national budget for 2005 has to be submitted to Parliament within two weeks as of the confirmation of the new Cabinet and adopted before the end of the year. The declaration also calls for a program to overcome the crisis in the Latvian health care system.