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Politologist: two months after elections – get popcorn and watch the show

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUTwo months have passed since 13th Saeima elections. Heads of sixteen Saeima committees have been picked, a new Saeima Praesidium has been elected, but it remains unclear which parties could end up in the coalition and which – in the opposition.

Although the leader of the New Conservative Party Jānis Bordāns had previously opposed working with the Union of Greens and Farmers in the new government, Aldis Gobzems from KPV LV has decided to delegate two seats in the new Cabinet of Ministers to this party.

Politicians and businessmen comment if such a situation is normal

«Currently the situation is normal,» said politologist Ivars Ījabs in a telephone conversation with BNN, putting an emphasis on ‘currently’. When asked about possible emergency elections, the politologist said there are no indications to suggest this possibility. «The possibility of emergency elections is currently as high as sending a human to Mars as soon as next year,» said the politologist.

Because the situation changes every hour, the politologist recommends «getting some popcorn and watching the situation develop».

Providus think tank’s researcher Iveta Kažoka mentioned in a telephone conversation with BNN that the current situation is normal if observed in the context of Europe, especially considering the situation in Sweden, which has existed without a new government for more than six months.

Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry believes «a very unpleasant situation has formed, because there is a lack of clarity about the possible heads of ministries and because we live in temporary mode – without any important decisions being made to contribute to Latvia’s economic development». LCCI congratulates deputies with a two-month anniversary since the election of the 13th Saeima and invites them to pull themselves together by forming a government capable of addressing many standing problems quickly.

What has happened so far?

26 October

New Conservative Party leader Jānis Bordāns says parties could agree on a new government and becomes the first official prime minister candidate.

6 November – one month after elections

New Saeima gathers for the first meeting and elects a new Praesidium the same day.

Through an open vote, members of the 13th Saeima elected Ināra Mūrniece (National Alliance) as the Saeima speaker, Dagmāru Beitnere-Le Galle (New Conservative Party) and Inese Lībiņa-Egnere (New Unity) as deputy Saeima speakers. Andrejs Klementjevs (Harmony) was elected as Saeima secretary, and Marija Golubeva (Attīstībai/Par!) was elected as deputy secretary.

Two political parties were not elected to the Praesidim – KPV LV and Union of Greens and Farmers.

7 November

Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis nominates Jānis Bordāns as the prime minister candidate. Bordāns is 80% confident of his proposed government being approved.

AP, meanwhile, says it will respect NCP’s position on not allowing UGF in the government.

14 November

AP, NA and NU exit from government formation talks headed by NCP.

«I believe after today’s events all political parties should undergo therapy,» said KPV LV representative Aldis Gobzems in regards to the failed government formation.

20 November

Heads of sixteen Saeima committees are approved.

NA is given authority over Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee and Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee; AP is given Budget and Finance Committee, Social and Employment Matters Committee, and European Affairs Committee; NCP is given Legal Affairs Committee, Defence and Corruption Prevention Committee. KPV LV received Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee, Parliamentary Enquiry Committee, Public Expenditure and Audit Committee. NU received authority over Education, Culture and Science Committee, as well as Citizenship, Migration and Social Cohesion Committee. UGF received authority over Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee and National Security Committee. Harmony received authority over Environment Governance and Municipal Committee and Sustainable Development Committee.

Former prime minister Valdis Birkavs said two words can describe the government formation process – haste and ambitions. He explained that haste is appropriate because parties are too quick to draw red lines and avoid making decisions, whereas ambition is fitting because it dominated the minds of those who want to become prime ministers.

26 November

Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis entrusts government formation to KPV LV leader Aldis Gobzems. The president gives his two weeks to secure majority support for his government, pick ministers and make a list of immediate tasks for the new government. The president adds that if Gobzems fails, his nomination will be called off.

4 December

KPV LV leader and prime minister candidate Gobzems excludes AP from future government formation talks. In response, AP accuses Gobzems of ‘desperately searching for a way out’.

Gobzems also offers a plan to divide seats in the government: three seats for KPV LV (Prime Minister’s seat for himself, Finance Minister’s seat for Roberts Spručs, and Interior Affairs Minister’s seat for Ralfs Nemiro). NCP is offered four seats in the new government: Transport Minister’s seat for Tālis Linkaits, Healthcare Minister’s seat for Juris Jurašs, Education Minister’s seat for Dagmāra Beitnere-Le Galla, and Justice Minister’s seat for either Jānis Bordāns or Juta Strīķe.

The National Alliance is offered three seats: Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister’s seat for Raivis Dzintars or Rihards Kols, Welfare Minister’s seat for Imants Parādnieks, and Culture Minister’s seat for Dace Melbārde.

UGF and NU are offered two seats each: Agriculture Minister’s seat for Edgars Tavars or Armands Krauze, Defence Minister’s seat for Raimonds Bergmanis. NU members Jānis Reirs and Edgars Rinkēvičs may be given Economy Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister’s post.

5 December

«UGF may agree to Gobzems’ proposed government composition, but only once clarity is ensured for the government declaration and certain candidates,» says UGF faction chairman Uldis Augulis.

6 December

Inability to agree on the new government forces use of a mechanism not used in Latvia for more than a decade. Latvia will commence 2019 with a temporary budget, which is something the Saeima will decide in the final reading on 6 December.

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