Five-party coalition being discussed, with ZZS out in the cold

A new coalition of five parties is being discussed at the moment, the LSM Latvian language service reported October 12.

The potential next prime minister, Janis Bordans of the New Conservative party (JKP) who has been taking the leading role in negotiations thus far, on Friday afternoon presented his vision of a coalition of five political forces, including a suggested division of ministerial portfolios.

Bordans' plan envisages a government consisting of KPV LV, For Development/For!, The National Alliance and New Unity in addition to his own party.

The plan would leave only the Harmony party and the Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS) as parties of opposition in a seven-party Saeima.

It would also consign some high-profile figures from ZZS including Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis, Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis and Agriculture Minister Jānis Dūklavs sidelined.

In Bordans' plan the New Conservatives would take charge of the Prime Minister's office, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development and the Ministry of the Interior.

For Development/For! have been offered the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Welfare and the Ministry of Health.

KPV LV is seen taking over the Ministry of Economics and Ministry of Transport;

The National Alliance would keep control of the Ministry of Culture and take over the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Agriculture;

Meanwhile New Unity would have responsibility for the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Justice.

One notable ministry left hanging is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Current Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs comes from the New Unity party but Bordans' plan avoids specifying who precisely will take charge of this key ministry, instead saying the coalition parties will take a joint decision to ensure it is professionally run - so Rinkevičs might stay but might not.

In his press conference Bordans emphasized that the proposed model of the five-party coalition will not be extended to include ZZS.

"We see that there is a unique opportunity to form a government without Harmony and the Greens and Farmers Union," Bordans said.

It now remains to be seen whether President Raimonds Vējonis - himself a former ZZS minister, though he resigned from the party upon assuming the presidency - is amenable to the five-party Bordans plan. He has repeatedly stressed that the person he nominates to form a government, which is his constitutional role, must broadly continue current policies in areas such as foreign and defense policy and reform of the education and health sectors.

Vējonis has also warned that security considerations must be taken into account. The security services are responsible for vetting ministerial candidates to ensure they can be entrusted with state secrets - which may rule out some of the more colorful members of Bordans' potential coalition. 

According to Vējonis' diary, he will begin consultations with political parties on October 18 and continue on October 19.

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