President nominates Māris Kučinskis as Prime Minister

President Raimonds Vējonis on Wednesday asked Māris Kučinskis from the Greens and Farmers Union to become Prime Minister, reported LSM's Latvian-language service.

Vējonis announced his decision after a lengthy meeting with Kučinskis and alternative Unity candidate Kārlis Šadurskis. The president declined to say why he chose to nominate Kučinskis.

“In line with the Latvian constitution... I invite Maris Kucinskis to form a cabinet,” Vejonins told reporters after morning talks.

"I ask him in the near future to put on the table concrete plans showing the government's tasks, the coalition model and that it will have necessary support," Vejonis said.

 

The head of Unity Solvita Aboltina has said, according to LETA, that her party isn't likely to support a Greens PM candidate. Coalition parties also have to come to an agreement about the makeup of the new government and candidates for the posts of ministers. The new government has to be accepted by a parliament vote.

Kučinskis said that he wants to see the current coalition partners - including Unity - forming the new government. He invited Unity to hold talks on January 18. Kučinskis was confident that he has the support of the National Alliance party, so his candidacy could be backed by 37 MP votes at the moment.

MP Kučinskis is the head of the Saeima Sustainable Development Committee. He started out as a politician in Valmiera where he served as the mayor. 

He is also a former senior figure in now-defunct People's Party and then the For The Good of Latvia party as its nominee. He was wooed by Unity to join its ranks a couple of years ago but opted for ZZS instead.

The long-serving Unity MP and former MEP Kārlis Šadurskis is seen as one of the most likely potential candidates for the post of prime minister, though after meeting with the president Šadurskis did not answer the question whether Vejonis has offered him the position of the prime minister.

So far the president has addressed Finance Minister Janis Reirs and Valmiera city mayor Janis Baiks, both of whom turned the offer down.

Latvian Television reported that Tuesday Kučinskis revealed the possible Cabinet of Ministers if he is voted in by the Saeima. He suggested a number of changes like handing the lucrative Finance Minister post to Dana Reizniece-Ozola (Greens - currently Finance Minister) and reinstating Uldis Augulis (Greens) as Transport Minister. 

Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma resigned on December 7th. Vejonis gave the parties until the end of 2015 to present their candidates.

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