RIGA - On October 25, Unity’s board decided to rescind their previous invitation to the nationalist alliance All for Latvia-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK (VL-TB/LNNK) to be part of the next ruling coalition.
As a result, the next government will be made up of only two entities - Unity and the Greens/Farmers Union.
The Society for Different Politics (SDP), one of the three political parties that make up the Unity political alliance, has demanded that the inclusion of VL-TB/LNNK in the next government be reconsidered, with SDP member Artis Pabriks stating that the coalition does not need “ultra-nationalists and radicals.”
Following the meeting, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis explained that the Unity parties, SDP included, has veto rights on key issues. He added, however, that it would have been better had these veto rights been utilized earlier, as an “uncomfortable situation” has been created.
The prime minister acknowledged that the coalition can function with 55 votes, indicating that the former Repse government once had the same number. He added, however, that the new coalition would require “greater discipline.”
Unity Chairman Girts Valdis Kristovskis (Civic Union) explained that there were differing opinions within the alliance on the make up of the coalition, but that the board’s decision proves that Unity can solve complicated matters. He, like the Prime Minister, was also not pleased that SDP had delayed its stance.
SDP leader Aigars Stokenbergs pointed out that the “newcomers from VL” have zero experience in government, and that there is “actually no real support from them for Dombrovskis.” He underlined that at this time social and economic problems are most important, not national issues.
During the past week invitations by Dombrovskis had been extended to the Greens/Farmers Union, Harmony Center and All For Latvia!-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK to join Unity in a four party ruling coalition.
The Greens/Farmers were the only party to respond positively to the invitation. The party’s leader, Augusts Brigmanis reported that an agreement was reached with Dombrovskis about campaign promises that pensions will not be decreased, would be kept.
According to unofficial information obtained by LETA, the Unity political alliance has offered the Union of Greens and Farmers five ministerial posts in the next government. The Union of Greens and Farmers has been offered to lead the Agriculture Ministry, Transport Ministry, Education and Science Ministry, Welfare Ministry and the Environment Ministry, which will be merged with the Regional Development and Local Government Affairs Ministry.
Talks with Harmony centre ended last week when Unity’s terms for joining the coalition were not met. Harmony were to agree on several fundamental issues, including recognizing the fact that Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union, that Latvian is the only official state language in Latvia and also agree on continuing the naturalization process.
Harmony Center is pleased with Prime Minister Dombrovskis’ latest decision to exclude the nationalist All for Latvia-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK from the next coalition, as member Andrejs Klementjevs told LETA.
“I am satisfied that the premier has evaluated the risks that would be with VL-TB/LNNK’s inclusion in the government,” Klementjevs said. Formation of the coalition is “completely in the hands of the premier”, and that Harmony Center is “prepared to enter talks on cooperation in the new Saeima and government.”
“Right now, we will stand by and wait,” he said.
Klementjevs made it clear that if Harmony Center remains in opposition, there would be no cooperation or joint bloc with VL-TB/LNNK. With 29 seats in parliament, the alliance will be able to operate “on its own,” he underlined.
Until the recent board meeting All for Latvia!-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK were still under the impression that they were a desirable candidate for the coalition.
On October 21, the board of the nationalist alliance All for Latvia!-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK, decided to accept the conditions set by Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis for joining the coalition, the core of which at the time consisted of Unity and the Union of Greens and Farmers. VL-TB/LNNK was to assume responsibility for one ministry - justice, and the Cabinet seat could go to either Gaidis Berzins or Dzintars Rasnacs.
Formation of the coalition and the decision to leave the nationalist alliance All for Latvia-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK outside the next ruling coalition is the responsibility of the Unity alliance, VL ‘s co-chairman Imants Paradnieks declared.
He said that he does not know the reason behind the switch in stance, as just last Friday, when the announcement was made of VL-TB/LNNK’s inclusion, “there were warm smiles and handshakes.”
Paradnieks pointed out that the Unity party - Society for Different Politics’, attitude and veto on including VL-TB/LNNK “is no surprise”, as its members are “directly responsible for handing over the Abrene region to Russia.”
VL leader Raivis Dzintars commented that he respects Dombrovskis’ decision, but that Unity “will have to take responsibility for today’s decision. The question remains how often in the future Society for Different Politics will use its veto rights, and how Unity will deal with this,” said Dzintars.
Roberts Zile, chairman of the board of the nationalist alliance (VL-TB/LNNK), believes that the use of veto rights within the Unity alliance points to a split that could have an impact on the further formation of the next government and its stability. He predicted that those using veto rights to push out VL-TB/LNNK, will do not more than only that.
“The fact that the coalition will be without the nationalist alliance is the result of Harmony Center’s lobby to Unity. And the next move will be to seek possibilities to re-start talks with Harmony Center on being a part of the government. Whether this will occur now - in establishing the new Dombrovskis’ government, or later - following adoption of the national budget, is a mere matter of tactics,” Zile said.
“I can only express regret that Unity failed to satisfy the wishes of voters, who clearly wanted to see a coalition of national forces. National issues will always be important in Latvia, because this land is the only place where the Latvian people can develop freely and realize their rights of self determination. And is it radicalism to demand that all nationalities in Latvia know the Latvian language?” Zile asked.
Earlier in the week, All For Latvia co-chairmen Raivis Dzintars and Imants Paradnieks were concerned about a possible smear campaign against their party. Accusations were made that some of the party’s members received financial support from representatives of the Chechen Diaspora in Latvia, who allegedly have connections in criminal circles. Security police are investigating the matter.
Interior Minister Linda Murniece said the results of the investigation will be made public in the near future, “It is a question of a few weeks, because this information worries the party involved and influences the situation in general. These are just rumors that perhaps someone has been circulating for some certain purpose.” Murniece said that the Security Police would themselves announce the results of the investigation.
Dzintars and Paradnieks believed the rumors last week were started to mar planned talks with the Prime Minister about the party’s possible membership in the new ruling coalition.