Levits gives green light to Kariņš for "preliminary" government formation talks

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Latvian President Egils Levits emerged from talks with all seven parties elected to the 14th Saeima and, as widely expected, named existing Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš as his first port of call to try to form a government.

"I have asked Mr Kariņš to start preliminary talks" Levits said, while emphasising that this did not constitute a concrete nomination as yet.

Kariņš, whose New Unity party topped the polls, has a week to sound out potential partners and then report back to Rīga Castle with an update on how he got on, Levits said.

The head of state mentioned that both three-party and four-party models were possible, he said, adding that he would expect a government to be a "reform coalition" embarking on "structural reforms". 

The incumbent Prime Minister voiced his readiness to carry on in the job, the LETA newswire reported.

The New Unity plans to start meetings with potential partners on October 4, namely representatives of the United List, the National Alliance and the Progressives, primarily to discuss the priority tasks of the new government.

Asked whether the coalition would consist of three or four parties, Karins said that a broader coalition would be better, ensuring a larger stability and ability to work for the coming four years.

As reported, according to information available on the Central Election Commission's website, New Unity has likely won 26 mandates in Latvia's 100-seat parliament. The Greens and Farmers Union has received 16, United List 15, National Alliance 13, For Stability 11, Progressives 10, and Latvia First 9 mandates.

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