Ministerial horse-trading to drag on

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Hopes that the process of forming a new government might take days rather than weeks were receding Wednesday with Latvian Radio's political insider Ivo Leitans reporting that negotiations to share out ministerial portfolios were likely to continue to Friday at least.

It had been expected that President Andris Berzins might name his candidate for Prime Minister as early as Tuesday, following more than a week of negotiations since October 4 elections.

However with Berzins due to depart for a working visit to Italy on Thursday, the chance of a someone – most probably incumbent Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma - getting the presidential nod before the weekend now looks unlikely.

“Prime Ministerial candidate Straujuma offered coalition partners her vision of how to divide responsibilities, but no agreement was reached,” Solvita Aboltina of the Unity political party told Latvian Radio.

Though wrangles over ministries continue, the coalition appears to have agreed not to invite either of the two new parties elected to Saeima to join its three-party, 61-seat coalition in the 100-seat Saeima. 

Meanwhile the Harmony and Latvia From The Heart (NSL) parties look set to form a co-ordinated opposition after their own cooperation meetings produced positive signals, with the potential for the Regional Alliance party also to form part of the parliamentary opposition.

"I think that there will be a very powerful opposition, if the opposition comprised these three parties, but no one can say it yet for sure,” Harmony leader and Riga mayor Nils Usakovs said after talks, the BNS newswire reported.

"We see that we share the same position. There are subjects on which it is important for NSL to secure support in order to accomplish some of its goals,” NSL leader Inguna Sudraba said.

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