Progressive Party’s chances of entering coalition keep going down, politologist says

The chances of Progressive Party entering the ruling coalition in Latvia continued going down after the last round of coalition formation talks, says politologist and public relations specialist Filips Rajevskis.
When asked about the winners and losers after after the recent talks, the politologist said there was no major developments with government formation activities. According to him, what happened can be described as «mutual circling», and the Progressive Party can be considered the losers.
There is no clear winner in these talks. However, the Combined List and National Alliance tandem with their united position against letting the Progressive Party into the government seem to be the winners, at least on a minimal level, explained Rajevskis.
The expert expects the government coalition formation headed by New Unity leader Krišjānis Kariņš to continue after his meeting with Latvian President Egils Levits on Monday, 17 October.

The government formation process leans more and more towards a three-party coalition consisting of New Unity, Combined List and National Alliance.

There are less and less serious political arguments against National Alliance and Combined List diverting from this model, explained Rajevskis.
When asked if the process could conclude with New Unity agreeing with a three-party government, the politologist said he expects it could happen gradually. This week Kariņš’s rhetoric has changed and turned farther away from the initially stronger position in terms of creating a four-party coalition.
At the same time, New Unity is also waiting for Kariņš to receive PM nomination from the president, which is expected to happen in November. On top of that, it is in New Unity’s interests to show that they, not some cooperation partner, is in charge of the negotiations procedure, explained Rajevskis.
Once trilateral talks – with New Unity, Combined List and National Alliance – commence, this is when we can expect the negotiation process to speed up, because there is a great deal of pressure from residents and the media, who insist that the government needs to be formed as quickly as possible, said the politologist.

This is why this process should not be slowed, spending months to decide if Progressive Party should or should not be allowed in the government, since it is clear the coalition can do without them in terms of votes, said the expert.

He said in a different situation coalition talks would make sense if Attīstībai/Par! Was elected to the 14th Saeima and if the big three – New Unity, Combined List and National Alliance – had only 49 votes. This would have changed the dynamic of negotiations. But in the current situation the three parties have 54 votes together. Therefore Rajevskis does not expect a reasonable explanation as to why the coalition cannot consist of three parties.
When asked to comment on the role the Progressive Party’s role in the 14th Saeima if they are left to work in the opposition, the politologist said the young deputies they have there don’t have experience working in the parliament.

To make work in the opposition successful, you need high professionalism, in-depth understanding of the work process so that you are «respected» and to find partners to cooperate with in opposition.

As an example for the need for partners in opposition, Rajevskis mentioned the signature collection initiated by the Union of Greens and Farmers for the organisation of a referendum on the Sea Port Law reform.
In order to make this step, which will bring discomfort for the coalition and which is believed to slow down the government’s initiated process, the Union of Greens and Farmers had to find supporters among other opposition parties, said the politologist.
The expert explained that in certain topics the Progressive Party may find allies, but when it comes to «hyper liberal topics», which are among this party’s priorities, they may fail.
When asked about cooperation with New Unity, Rajevskis says Progressive Party may agree with New Unity may agree on the Civil Union Law and Istanbul Convention.

At the same time, New Unity may disagree with Progressive Party when it comes to «hyper liberal freedoms».

As for cooperation with other coalition and opposition parties, the politologist said there is a possibility of the Combined List and Union of Greens and Farmers agreeing on different regional topics.
Also read: Second round of coalition formation talks is done; fate of Progressive Party still unclear