Latvian president designates leader of New Conservative Party to form new government

Latvian president designates leader of New Conservative Party to form new government
By Wojciech Kosc in Warsaw November 8, 2018

Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis designated the leader of the New Conservative Party (JKP) Janis Bordans to form a new government on November 7. 

The president’s decision follows elections in October that resulted in a fragmented parliament with six out of seven parties that won seats currently in coalition talks. Bordans now has an opportunity to lead a successful conclusion.

The seventh party is the centre-left group Harmony, which, despite winning the most votes, will most likely remain isolated by the others because its pro-Russia stance is a political liability in Latvia.

Bordans has two weeks to arrange a majority coalition in the 100-seat parliament. Following the election, parties in the talks have included the populist KPV party, the National Alliance, liberals from For Development/For! party, Greens and Farmers Union, and liberal-conservative New Unity.

Bordans told Latvian Radio on November 8, however, that he sees a five-party coalition as feasible, which would leave Harmony and Greens and Farmers Union in opposition. If ultimately agreed, the coalition would have a comfortable majority of 66 MPs in the parliament.

The PM-designate also said he was confident he could hammer out a deal within a week because talks have been underway for more than a month now.

“The president of Latvia expects a decisive and responsible action from Mr Bordans aimed at agreeing on a future coalition,” Vejonis said in a statement.

Vejonis also said he expected the new government to strengthen “security of our country and of the financial system and build a balanced state budget.” 

He mentioned improving mechanisms for preventing money laundering and terrorist financing as particularly important. 

Latvia has been in focus again as a money-laundering hub since early 2018, when its third-largest bank ABLV collapsed following allegations of money laundering and facilitating transactions linked to the North Korean missile programme.