Coalition partners in Latvia agree on state reforms; government composition not discussed

Potential coalition partners in Latvia were able to reach an agreement on topics of national reforms, as New Unity politicians said after a meeting with Combined List’s representatives on Tuesday, 18 October. Politicians said this will be «good news» to report to President Egils Levits next week.
Topics of the composition of the new coalition were not discussed on Tuesday.
New Unity and their leader Krišjānis Kariņš previously had doubts about potential coalition partners’ opinion on important topics on reforms, said the party’s representative Arvils Ašeradens, adding that these topics were discussed and some clarity was achieved on a way to move forward.
New Unity’s and other parties’ proposal to review reforms were taken as proposals to cancel them, which is something New Unity finds unacceptable. It was ‘incredibly important’ to discuss these topics in the government formation process, said the politician. He called this good news to tell the president.
Kariņš said he plans to hold a meeting with President Egils Levits on Monday, 24 October. At this meeting he plans to report on the progress with government coalition formation. «Then we will look how we can move forward,» said the PM, adding he has become optimistic. This happened thanks to the reducing number of topics on which the next government could potentially disagree, said Kariņš.
All potential partners support the formation of a policy that distances politicians from state capital associations to reduce the risk of narrow economic interests taking charge, said the PM.
During negotiations the Combined List and New Unity managed to reach an understanding about topics that were previously met with controversy, said the party’s representative Edvards Smiltēns after the meeting of the two parties on Tuesday, 18 October.
According to him, the Administrative Territorial Reform was among the topics discussed. There were also other topics that were previously met with «harsh comments».

The Combined List was able to explain their position in more detail. As it turns out, New Unity has a similar opinion on these topics, said the politician.

Representatives of both parties dealt with all confusing matters «very constructively» as problems appeared, said Combined List leader Uldis Pīlēns. Politicians also outlined tasks for next week.
Both parties discussed the Administrative Territorial Reform and the sea port reform. New Unity and the Combined List reached an agreement on future tasks for the government, said Combined List representative Edgars Tavars. The party outlined multiple topics that should be focused on, said the politician, adding that as the two parties similar views and are able to move forward.
The Combined List initiated holding next week’s talks with three parties – together with National Alliance, said the party’s representative Smiltēns. The party also invited New Unity to give a joint commentary to the media after the meeting, but the party has yet to agree to this.

Smiltēns said that on the topic of the Administrative Territorial Reform New Unity and Combined List agree that this «reform of regions» was a «redrawing of the map» that gave good results.

But it is necessary to go through other tasks, including region-wide policy making, review of municipal functions, promote wider availability of support mechanisms to finance municipalities, said the politician of the Combined List. Smiltēns said these improvements would help municipalities grow.
Combined List politician and head of Liepaja Party Uldis Sesks said in talks with New Unity, his party’s representatives said the goal of the Combined List is not interested in a repeated review of the sea ports reform. The Combined List approves of «adding specific improvements», explained the politician, indirectly replying to what Krišjānis Kariņš stressed – that the next government must not backtrack on the sea port reform.
According to Sesks, the Combined List’s proposal is using Liepaja Special Economic Zone’s model in Riga, when the authority has nine representatives in total – three representatives each from the state, Liepaja City Council and Liepaja entrepreneurs.

Implementation of appropriate improvements would allow state and municipal representatives better manage the sea port’s assets.

When asked about the liquefied natural gas project, Combined List representative Uldis Sesks said his party and New Unity agree on the importance of creating a state-owned LNG terminal with connection to Inčukalns gas storage facility.
After the meeting National Alliance leader Raivis Dzintars said that his party and New Unity have concluded that both political parties have no major disagreements that would prevent them from working in the same coalition. According to Dzintars, New Unity’s representatives said as much in talks with National Alliance.
More on this topic: New Unity meets with President Egils Levits; no real progress made with coalition formation