Politologist: Progressive Party’s exclusion from coalition is due to distribution of seats in ministries

National Alliance’s unwillingness to include Progressive Party in the government is related to distribution of seats in ministries – if the party enters the coalition, some party will have fewer ministries to manage, says politologist Ojārs Skudra.
The difficulty with accepting Progressive Party’s inclusion in the coalition after election results was expected, said the politologist. There were two reasons – ideological views, since the National Alliance is a classic, ideological party, and business interests and the many problems «National Alliance has had over the years, many of which were quite scandalous,» said Skudra.
According to the politologist, the objections from New Unity and Combined List, considering how recently coalition formation talks have started, are more due to their unwillingness to «put their cards on the table». Both parties promised to speak with the Progressive Party. They will definitely discuss topics on which their respective views differ. However, neither party has promised more than talking with them, the politologist mentioned.

Skudra believes that the National Alliance will definitely communicate with the media after talks with the Progressive Party in order to create more obstacles

and to demonstrate to their voters that the party does not want to work with this party. But if their colleagues agree to hold confidential talks with Progressive Party and that they should not tell the media anything about them, it would indicate that intentions are serious, said the expert.
If parties do communicate with the media, it will indicate the talks are more tactical in nature. Whether or not statements to the media outline obstacles or points of agreement will indicate their views in regards to the Progressive Party, said Skudra.
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When asked if he sees any possibility for an agreement between National Alliance and Progressive Party, for example, in regards to seats in the government, the politologist said it is difficult to predict but the distribution of seats will be a joint decision by the coalition. At the same time, he said the Progressive Party can expect no more than one minister’s seat.
He believes parties may cooperate even if Progressive Party does not join the government coalition – either the party signs a cooperation agreement with coalition parties or the government itself once it is formed. The party may also sign a cooperation agreement with New Unity exclusively. As for the way how this cooperation may take shape practically and how Progressive Party may benefit from it will be discussed before seats are distributed. Agreements may be signed after 1 November. It may include specific goals and objectives Progressive Party may support with votes in committees and development of legislative projects, explained the politologis.
Skudra mentioned that the role of the Progressive Party may be under discussions by government parties until the end of the week. Defining the role of the Progressive Party will be the most important point for Krišjānis Kariņš’s coalition formation talks.
The political expert also said the Combined List also stands in favour of changing the government method. This means reorganisation and modernisation, which coincides with what the president said about the need for structural reforms and a modern, capable government in Latvia.
Skudra believes it is possible to accomplish these goals with Progressive Party in the government.
He also stressed that the Progressive Party is the largest one in Riga City Council, which indicates how capable the party’s representatives are, and that this party can exact pressure on other parties.
When asked if the National Alliance could present Kariņš with any ultimatums to ensure Progressive Party is left out of the coalition, similarly how that party demanded the dismissal of then the Minister of the Interior Marija Golubeva after events of 9th and 10th May this year, Skudra said it will be a topic to discuss after 1 November.
This Monday, 3 October, representatives of parties elected to the parliament met with President Egils Levits.
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