Kariņš upbeat about chances of five-party Latvian coalition

Prime Ministerial nominee Krišjānis Kariņš said January 21 his administration would focus on stability rather than making radical changes and would offer a good mix of experience and fresh faces.

Speaking on LTV's Morning Panorama news show and Latvian Radio, Kariņš repeated earlier hopes that a government could be approved by Saeima on Wednesday January 23 but said this was dependent upon the KPV LV party nominating an acceptable Economics Minister for his cabinet after previous nominee Diszis Šmits withdrew his candidacy. Unless KPV LV can quickly nominate a replacement, a Saeima vote to approve the cabinet would have to be postponed.

"If there is no candidate for a ministerial post, I can't propose a vote because then we would not have a full government," Kariņš explained. 

He confirmed that his government would consist of five parties including KPV LV (plus New Unity, New Conservatives, National Alliance and Development/For!) despite public statements from some of its Saeima deputies that they would not support a Kariņš-led administration.

"I thought it would be a lot more difficult than it has been, to be honest," Kariņš said of the talks between parties, "We know all five parties before the election had big personalities and big ambitions, but in fact when we have sat down together for two weeks we've seen that all have been ready to cooperate and work together with one purpose. In fact it's been a very agreeable process, I could say."

However he warned that if the current government formation process did founder at the last minute, like the efforts of two previous nominees, it would be difficult to see other options apart from fresh elections.

"But even then the numbers suggest that there might not be a different result," he said, "We can either learn how to work together or we can each stand in our respective positions and sound off and not get anywhere." 

The agreed government declaration would contain the general principles and aims of his administration, not a detailed legislative plan, he added. On issues such as local government administrative reform there was agreement on the need for change but not on the precise way it should be achieved, as yet.

On the issue of acting quickly to remove fears of money-laundering in Latvia's financial sector, Kariņš said all parties had "joint understanding of the seriousness of the situation and joint determination to do all that has to be done." 

Kariņš is due to meet with President Raimonds Vējonis Monday afternoon to update him on the government formation process which has been running since parliamentary elections in October last year. 

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