President to parties: Sort out coalition quickly

Following two days of consultations at Rīga Castle, Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis told newly-elected parties they needed to sort out their coalition plans quickly and named three postential prime ministerial candidates.

"The President said that he would continue to assess the candidacy of Aldis Gobzems, Janis Bordans and Artis Pabriks as Prime Minister. The President expects that during the subsequent consultation of political parties, an agreement will be reached on majority support for one of these candidates," said  statement from the president's office.

"In order to create the preconditions for the country's development and long-term growth, it is in the interests of the whole of society to have a stable, decisive and capable government, for which the 13th Saeima would have the majority support. From the political parties I expect responsible and decisive action in order to agree as soon as possible about the coalition and the work to be done," said Vējonis.

He added that he would only nominate a candidate for the post of Prime Minister, for whom there will be no doubt about his ability to obtain high-level security clearance to access state secrets. He urged all three potential candidates for the Prime Minister to submit the necessary documents to see if they were eligible for such approval.

While this may seem like a detail, it is an important element of the process of choosing a prime minister. As a former Defense Minister and Foreign Minister, Pabriks will have held such high-level clearance in the past and there seems no reason to prevent him doing so again.

Bordans has also held a ministerial portfolio, but whether Gobzems, a lawyer by profession, could gain such clearance is questionable. 

Vējonis also used the talks to re-state that a new government will need to provide continuity on several key issues, namely:

-          maintaining Euro-Atlantic political stance

-          spending no less than 2% of GDP on defense

-          continuing reforms already started in the areas of education, health and taxation

-          the ability to create a balanced state budget

-          strengthening of the rule of law, improving the functioning of the judiciary, and further streamlining of the insolvency sector

-          strengthening of public media

-          strengthening the security of the financial system, including improvement of anti-money laundering measures

 

The President will nominate a new prime minister after the caretaker Cabinet of Ministers resigns, with the first meeting of the newly elected Saeima on November 6, 2018 - one month to the day after elections re-drew the political landscape.

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