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Five-way coalition extension talks unsuccessful: LTV's De Facto

The talks of possibly extending the coalition, initiated by the New Unity party and its leader PM Krišjānis Kariņš, started immediately after the presidential elections. Last week Kariņš called for a five-way discussion between the existing coalition and the potential new additions from the opposition, but some snubbed the invitation, Latvian Television's De Facto reported on June 18.

On Thursday, when at the Saeima meeting, PM Kariņš withstood a confidence vote thanks to the support of existing coalition partners New Unity (JV), National Alliance (NA), and the United List (AS). Those parties, as well as two opposition political forces – the Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS) and Progressives – received an invitation to meet Friday afternoon at the Cabinet office to discuss how Latvia can solve looming problems with labor shortages.

The opposition Progressives and ZZS, who together with New Unity elected Latvia's next president Edgars Rinkēvičs, agreed to the negotiations.

“Let's go and participate in this process. We hope that these will indeed be five-party talks,” said Kaspars Briškens, head of the Progressives Saeima faction. 

Viktors Valainis, leader of the Saeima faction of ZZS, also expressed his readiness to accept the invitation. Asked to comment on the possibility of one of the current coalition partners not coming to the talks, he told De Facto: "This is a sign of weakness, I think, more when politicians refuse to negotiate with others. [..] I translate it as a sign of weakness if you can't sit down respectfully with political competitors at the table. None of them have 51 votes so they can afford such arrogant action and not participate in such talks. Or if they think these matters are minor – well, I don't think so."

The coalition partners AS and NA were invited to the discussion, also formally to talk about labor problems. But in the end they did not attend, with AS calling this format a circus.

Kariņš says he will no longer hold parallel talks in narrower circles, because all five of his preferred parties have the opportunity to come and debate together.

“Politicians need to participate in the discussions. At the moment, I will admit, it is difficult to see how the coalition partners can ignore the Prime Minister's call to talk about a political problem,” the Prime Minister said after New Unity's joint talks with two opposition parties.


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