New Unity meets with President Egils Levits; no real progress made with coalition formation

Latvia’s President Egils Levits has asked New Unity leader Krišjānis Kariņš to continue coalition formation consultations with potential coalition partners.
As previously reported, New Unity is engaged in coalition formation talks with the Combined List, National Alliance and Progressive Party.
After his meeting with Kariņš on Monday, 17 October, President Egils Levits said once again that it is still possible to form a government consisting of three parties with 54 votes and four parties with 64 votes.
The government formation consultations have been intense so far. It is planned for consultations to continue, said Levits. According to him, the coalition and their political programme may start taking shape at the beginning of November.
When asked about the proposal from the Combined List to go with a three-party coalition without Progressive Party, Levits said that

Kariņš will continue consultations with four parties because it is highly important to find common ground on tasks of the next government.

When asked about the position held by Combined List and National Alliance, which are in favour of a three-party coalition, the president said that if a coalition with 54 votes is formed, parties have to be very confident about their shared political programme. 54 votes is the minimal threshold necessary going forward, said Levits, adding that in this case all three parties will need to agree on «common elements» in order to compose the government.
«There is no need to run around and grab seats in office,» said the president, adding that he condemns a coalition formation procedure that is based entirely on distributing seats. First of all it is necessary to reach an agreement on the future coalition’s tasks. Then it will be possible to say which factions could compose the next government.
Then parties of the coalition can tackle government structure and seats in office, said Levits.

«Those who are waiting for seats in ministries can wait for longer,» said the president.

Levits said that Krišjānis Kariņš reported to him that New Unity has held talks with all potential partners. Efforts are now focused on finding common ground among these parties. So far there has been no clarity in regards to the foundation of the next coalition. This is why he asked New Unity to continue coalition consultations.

It is important to avoid stagnation and narrow economic interests in policy formation, Kariņš said.

The prime minister said this week he plans to continue meeting with potential coalition partners to find common ground and compose the foundation for the next government. He adds that it is important to reaffirm three main fields of interest among the three potential partners to ensure future economic growth in the country.
The first mentioned by the PM is education and science. All potential coalition partners have to understand that quality is the main factor in this sector. The state should also invest finances in order to promote a scientific breakthrough.
The other field important for economic growth, according to Kariņš, is the combination of the national economy and rule of law. To invest in Latvia’s national economy, local and foreign investors have to be confident that the business environment is free of corruption, he said.

He also said the next government should have a clear understanding of national security – not just in the context of National Defence Service but also the way it is implemented.

It needs to happen reasonably, not under the guise of populism slowing its implementation, said the PM.
The next report on government formation is scheduled to be presented to Levits next week. Parties of the next coalition have to be large and stable enough to pull through. Latvia needs a government that «doesn’t merely exist, rather a government that can help push Latvia’s development forward,» said Levits.
New Unity will continue meeting with potential coalition partners. A meeting will be held with the Combined List and National Alliance on 18 October and with Progressive Party on 19 October.