More strife in Latvia's coalition formation process

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Prime Ministerial nominee Aldis Gobzems of the KPV LV political party took to social media early on December 4 to inform the public that talks with the For Development/For! alliance had broken down.

In a Facebook post, the would-be head of executive power ruled out any further cooperation with For Development/For! and accused that party of being nothing more than a tool for the interests of politician Edgars Jaunups and his associates.

"From the very beginning For Development/For! has had a desire to play only the game that is understandable to Edgars Jaunups and his sponsors," Gobzems wrote.

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Gobzems described the rival party as having caught a "virus" characteristic to Latvian politics and said "I do not see the opportunity to cooperate with For Development/For! while its members act only in the interests of Marionette Edgars Jaunups associates." Despite a long litany of complaints about the negative attitude of the rival party, he provided no evidence to back up his claim that it was just a tool of Jaunups, who is not one of the party's most prominent members.

He also used his social media post to complain that For Development/For! "lacked the courage to speak face to face".

Yet according to the LETA news service, just a few hours earlier Gobzems had been upbeat, "saying the government must be formed with a smile on your face and enjoying the process, not with glum faces and grim statements, prime minister nominee Aldis Gobzems (KPV LV) told journalists following Monday's meeting of the six political parties involved in negotiations on Latvia's next government."

The breakdown in talks adds further complications to the government formation process. KPV LV, the New Conservative Party (JKP) and For Development/For! had been seen as the core of a new administration, along with the National Alliance, though to get a parliamentary majority they would need to attract at least one other party.

JKP has ruled out cooperation with the Greens and Farmers Union, while KPV LV already said it would not work in a government headed by For Development/For! In addition, the New Unity Party's small contingent in Saeima is probably more closely aligned with For Development/For! than any other party. Meanwhile all other parties have ruled out working with the largest party in Saeima, Harmony.

The new Latvian parliament is quite fragmented, with the Harmony party holding 23 seats, KPV LV and the New Conservative Party with 16 seats each, Development/For! scoring 13 seats, the same as the National Alliance. The Greens and Farmers Union won 11 seats and New Unity won 8. 

On November 26, Vējonis gave the controversial Gobzems two weeks to try to form a government, following the failure of previous nominee Jānis Bordāns of the New Conservative Party to do so.

However, the talks have been dominated by whether Gobzems himself would even get the necessary security clearance to take up the post of Prime Minister.

The increasingly chaotic situation may require the intervention of President Raimonds Vējonis again before the December 10 deadline he gave to Gobzems.

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