'You've got a week,' President tells politicians

Latvian President Andris Berzins has given political parties in the current ruling coalition a week to sort out their differences and come up with a workable plan for a new government, Solvita Aboltina of the Unity party said Wednesday. 

Speaking after Berzins was updated on the increasingly gruelling process of forming an administration at the Blackheads' House on Wednesday, Aboltina said the president gave an October 29 deadline for talks to be concluded. 

It is now more than three weeks since parliamentary elections were held on October 4 and while it was widely assumed the existing coalition would continue in power with a few minor changes, the increased parliamentary strength of the Greens and Farmers' Union in the next Saeima has seen them holding the whip hand during negotiations over which parties will control which ministries.

If and when agreement does come, Berzins is expected to nominate Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma to continue in her current role.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Berzins confirmed the clock was ticking.

"The President calls on politicians to continue to work on a government declaration and to prepare a plan of action, emphasizing the need for the action plan to include specific work to be done, which is urgently important for Latvia in the near future," the statement said. 

In an interview with Latvian Radio on Wednesday Finance Minister Andris Vilks - who is bowing out of politics when the new Saeima forms on November 4 - gave a damning indictment of the Greens and Farmers Union kingpin Aivars Lembergs, the mayor of the town of Ventspils who is currently on trial for large-scale fraud and was the party's prime ministerial candidate in the recent elections.

"His bravado grows as he tastes power," Vilks said, echoing comments he made on Twitter on October 20, saying "Without wanting to speak against my colleagues, it looks like the new coalition will be one of stagnation and hypocrisy. Lembergs has totally triumphed."

Lembergs has also ignored an attempt by former Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Edmunds Sprudzs to dismiss him from his job as mayor of Ventspils, a position he has held for more than 20 years, and which is the subject of yet another ongoing court case.

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