Kučinskis: coalition talks could cause budget vote to be delayed

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Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis said October 23 that complex ongoing talks on the formation of a new government coalition could mean that parliamentary votes on approving a state budget for 2019 could slip back towards the end of the year. 

Speaking on LTV's Morning Panorama show, Kučinskis - who carries on in a caretaker capacity until a new government is in place, possibly without his participation - said it could be the end of December before the complex but crucial matter of finalizing the state budget in a parliamentary vote is undertaken.

"It would be desirable for the government to be formed quickly, but it is difficult to predict anything. The old government is working until the new one is confirmed, and it will take time to prepare an action plan and declaration," said the prime minister, who has been in office since February 2016.

However, it is already clear that the adoption of the draft budget approved by the outgoing administration - which requires Saeima deputies to work through dozens of items and amendments - is unlikely to be possible until the end of the year, Kučinskis said. 

Kučinskis explained that, as a general rule, after an election, when the shape of a new government was clear, political leaders would get together informally to be brought up to speed on budgetary matters. However, no such discussions have yet taken place, he said.

The draft budget envisages revenues of 9.1 billion euros and expenditure of 9.2 billion euros, with an amount equivalent to 2% of GDP earmarked for defense spending in line with NATO's recommended guidelines.

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