Change of power brewing within Unity

At the June 4 emergency congress Unity, one of Latvia's leading parties and a coalition party, is likely to get a new leadership. A number of candidates have been named as potentially succeeding chairwoman Solvita Āboltiņa, reported Latvian Radio Monday.

Party members will put forward candidates for the next two weeks starting April 4 and discussion among the candidates will follow. 

Unity's general secretary Artis Kampars stressed that the debates between the potential party heads will be unprecedentedly open.

As of now Andris Piebalgs, former European Commissioner for Development, as well as faction co-leader Edvards Smiltēns and regional leaders like Cēsis mayor Jānis Rozenbergs have been named as potential candidates to head the Unity party.

While current party head Solvita Āboltiņa did not comment on whether she will participate in the election. 

Previously the party had called an emergency congress for autumn, however it will take place sooner due to an initiative by regional departments of the party worried about the upcoming 2017 municipal election.

The news comes as Unity lost the premiership after internal bickering that followed the party's Laimdota Straujuma resignation as Prime Minister last November.

Since then the party, which has the second most seats in the Latvian parliament, has been seeing an unprecedented drop in popularity likely caused by the fact that Straujuma's resignation was seen by many as a bid for power by Āboltiņa, who could be the least popular politician in Latvia.

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Politics
Politics