Same three names still in prime ministerial frame

President Raimonds Vējonis on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 again met the three would-be prime ministers at Riga Castle that he met last week as well, without giving any clear indication which of them was most likely to be nominated for the position.

Aldis Gobzems of KPV LV, Janis Bordans of the New Conservative Party and Artis Pabriks of For Development/For!  briefed the president on the progress that had been made in the previous party talks, the future process of government formation and the work to be done.

"Potential candidates for Prime Minister did not rule out the opportunity to work in the coalition even if the politician personally will not be the Prime Minister," said the President, in a carefully worded statement that failed to suggest any clear favorite has emerged between the three.

"The parties elected to the 13th Saeima should be able to agree on a possible coalition and majority support in parliament in order to elect a new Saeima chairman [parliamentary speaker] and presidium on November 6, 2018," Vējonis said, adding that any decision to put a temporary presidium in place [most likely a continuation of the current one] would "raise doubts" about the Saeima's decision-making ability.

However, the president acknowledged that some progress had been made in the party talks in recent days in identifying what a new government will have to do. "Before the first sitting of the new Saeima, parties need to continue intensive consultations in order to clarify the possible coalition," emphasized Vējonis.

But it was notable that the talks with each of the three candidates happened separately, not together, suggesting their ability to all sit down at the same table at the same time also needs to make progress.

It is now four weeks since parliamentary elections on October 6 created a tricky situation for the president as he needs to choose a PM from the three parties finishing joint second and third from a total of seven parties elected to Saeima. The Harmony party actually won more seats than any other, but unwillingness of other parties to join it in a coalition seem to have relegated it to the sidelines and yet another four years in opposition, whatever the ultimate shape of the government.

 

 

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