President gives parties a week for coalition talks

Latvian President Andris Berzins said Sunday he would give political parties a week to talk amongst themselves before considering his nominee for Prime Mininster.

Speaking on LTV's morning election roundup, Berzins said the results of the election were "clear".

"There is no surprise. Everything seems quite clear in my view," he said.

"I don't think Unity has 'lost'. Unity is stable and united. Perhaps there are individual surprises in the results but the picture is clear. 

"What I will say is that the existing coalition has good support. 

"All parties will have the coming week to talk with potential partners in the next coalition then after a week we'll see if these talks have had concrete results.

"It's clear we don't have too much time. Soon it will be the first of January when we will be very active internationally [with EU presidency]. The next week is very necessary for parties to see what they can do.

 I don't want to give any concrete signals until after this week when everyone can examine their results... and then this question of who I nominate can be the key question

"Forming a coalition is a process of compromise - and that applies to Harmony too, it's in their own hands. But I don't want to give any concrete signals until after this week when everyone can examine their results... and then this question of who I nominate can be the key question."

Berzins also expressed disappointment at the lowest-ever turnout figure in a Latvian election of 58%.

"Why has voter turnout fallen? Logically you would think that given the geopolitical situation you would expect it to rise but even so it has fallen compared to the last election. We need to understand what is the reason for this," Berzins said.

Speaking shortly afterwards, Harmony parliamentary leader Janis Urbanovics said he expected his party to be asked to form a government.

"We are the winners of the elections, in first place, and in a democratic country we expect the biggest party to be asked to form a government," Urbanovics said. 

"If the president allows us we will try to form a coalition."

According to the constitution, the first sitting of the new Saeima will take place on Tuesday, November 4th.

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