Political scientist: Kariņš could have longest and shortest governments in modern Latvian history

Take note – story published 1 year ago

Current Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity party), to whom the President has also entrusted the formation of the next government, could go down in history with both the longest tenure of the Cabinet of Ministers and the shortest government, according to political scientist and historian Gatis Krūmiņš, speaking to Latvian Radio.

The outgoing government led by Kariņš, which was approved  on January 23, 2019, at the beginning of 2021 became the longest-serving government in the history of democratic Latvia. However, Krūmiņš suspects that the evident tensions between the three political forces (New Unity, the United List and the National Alliance) involved in the formation of the next government, could mean that it will be very short-lived.

According to the political scientist, the work so far on forming the next government, which has already lasted nearly two months, has tested Kariņš' patience. Krumiņš is sure that the next Kariņš government will be approved, but the question is how long it will last. 

He said: "I assume that the tussle could continue. Let's just say that Kariņš' patience will still be tested. No one predicted that this phase will be extremely long. The government will be confirmed, the question is how long will it work? I think this is the story, that the United List is the one trying to say all these things. Maybe then [in the event of a government crisis] they would say – well, you see, we said there would be nothing there."

Krūmiņš hinted that following what is likely to be a hard winter, and with economic strain likely, the need for the next Presidential election towards the middle of 2023 could force inter-party relations to breaking point. Under the Latvian constitution, the President is elected by the Saeima, not by a public vote.

"I feel that when there are presidential elections, the issue of this government could come up," Krūmiņš said. 

The shortest government tenure since the restoration of independence in 1991 belongs to the second administration of Andris Šķēle, which lasted for 174 days in 1997.

Meanwhile, government formation talks continue.

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