MEP plays down PM chances, suggests former Eurocommissioner instead

With parties taking full advantage of President Raimonds Vejonis' generosity in ordering to present their candidates for Prime Minister only by the end of the year, one of the favorites for the job on Monday downplayed his chances.

If the center-right Unity party nominated its board member Andris Piebalgs, Latvia’s former European Commissioner for Development, as the next prime minister, he would have full support of the the National Alliance in the parliamentary vote, Latvian MEP Roberts Zile from the National Alliance told the BNS newswire.

He said it was unlikely that he might be nominated to the prime minister himself, saying that the National Alliance had only 17 seats in the 100-member parliament and therefore could not claim the right to propose the next head of government. He also rejected speculations that the National Alliance might team up with the opposition Latvian Bloc of Regions (LRA).

"If the LRA wants to join forces with the National Alliance, all LRA lawmakers should quit their bloc, repent their support to the Unity leader, Solvita Aboltina, and join the National Alliance by taking an oath. Then the National Alliance would have more than 20 votes in the parliament and we will be able to discuss nomination of our own candidate prime minister,” the National Alliance representative said.

He said the rumors that the National Alliance might propose its own candidate were being spread by the Unity. "Aboltina is trying to say that the National Alliance cannot make a government on its own and would not let others do it. Therefore [LRA leader Martins] Bondars has been tutored what to say in interviews,” Zile implied.

He said the three members of the outgoing coalition government – Unity, the Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS) and the National Alliance - would have no problem creating a new government, if Unity nominated a candidate for prime minister other than Aboltina. For example, Unity could nominate Piebalgs, Zile suggested.    

Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, representing the center-right Unity party, announced her resignation on December 7 which means that the entire Cabinet is standing down as well.

The Unity party has decided to nominate its leader Solvita Aboltina for Latvia's next prime minister but the decision has not yet been made official.

The National Alliance has repeatedly said it would not join a coalition that would be led by Aboltina as the prime minister, and the Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS) insists that it would not join a coalition that does not include the National Alliance. ZZS has also promised to announce its candidate prime minister on December 28.

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