Parties strike a deal on new government

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The Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS), National Alliance, and Unity have reached an agreement over ministry portfolios and areas of responsibility in the new government. The vote on the new government could take place on February 11, reported LSM's Latvian-language service Wednesday.

"I am confident that we have agreed on forming the government and that the vote [on the new government] will be held on February 11 [in the parliament]," PM designate Māris Kučinskis (ZZS) said after trilateral talks between the parties.

Unity has agreed on heading five ministries and in addition a new post of vice or associate Prime Minister, to be taken on by one of the party's ministers. The interior and foreign ministries will remain with Unity, lead by the current ministers. Unity should also control the education, economics and welfare ministries.

It's possible that Unity's Economics Minister will become the associate Prime Minister.

Although Unity wanted to head the Ministry for Environmental Protection and Regional Development (VARAM), it will remain with National Alliance, which will continue working in the justice as well as the culture ministries.

The proposed demographics minister post won't be created, but National Alliance has been offered an adjunct, demographics-related place at the Cabinet of Ministers, according to Kučinskis. 

Meanwhile, ZZS will take over the finance and transport ministries, previously controlled by Unity. It will keep its sway over the defense, agriculture and health ministries too, where the current ministers might continue working.

This was the first trilateral meeting of the potential coalition partners of the Kucinskis-lead government.

Unity lost control over the government as Laimdota Straujuma stepped down on December 7. On January 13, President Raimonds Vejonis tasked Kucinskis with forming Latvia's next government.

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