The intrigue held by the “United List” (AS) for almost the entire working week about its participation in the coalition formed by the representative of “Jaunās Vienotības” (JV) Evikas Silina ended without surprises – it decided to remain in the opposition. There was already the National Union (NA), which stayed out of the coalition for principled reasons – Siliņa interpreted their reluctance to cooperate with the “Progressives” as a withdrawal from the government formation negotiations. As a result, the attempts to create a wider coalition, which was encouraged by the President Edgars Rinkēvičs, failed – JV together with the Green and Farmers’ Union (ZZS) and the “Progressives” currently have 52 votes in the Saeima. The “de facto” broadcast of Latvian Television reports that the actual support for the coalition could soon increase by at least one vote, and the desire of some members of the AS to return to power seems not so implausible.
The intrigue held by the “United List” (AS) for almost the entire working week about its participation in the coalition formed by the representative of “Jaunās Vienotības” (JV) Evikas Silina ended without surprises – it decided to remain in the opposition. There was already the National Union (NA), which remained outside the coalition for principled reasons – Siliņa interpreted their reluctance to cooperate with the “Progressives” as a withdrawal from the government formation negotiations. As a result, the attempts to create a wider coalition, which was encouraged by the President Edgars Rinkēvičs, failed – JV together with the Green and Farmers’ Union (ZZS) and “Progressives” currently have 52 votes in the Saeima. The “de facto” broadcast of Latvian Television reports that the actual support for the coalition could soon increase by at least one vote, and the desire of some members of the AS to return to power seems not so implausible.
“It’s not so important to me in what combination – it’s important to me what the work will be that the government will do when we manage to move forward. And I really invite you to give up that rhetoric and try to work,” this statement by President Edgars Rinkevičas on Wednesday morning however, the call was not fully heard for several days. The rhetoric of politicians became more and more flamboyant, disagreements were dealt with more sharply and expressions dedicated to competitors became harsher.
NA remained in the role of a bystander this week, whose representatives did not agree with Evikas Silinas’ statement that they had withdrawn from the coalition negotiations themselves. However, the rhetoric of several visible representatives of the party made it clear that the “nationalists” were preparing to work in the opposition, but hinted that it would not stay that way for long.
“At the moment, I see that on the one hand it is about 52 deputies who have expressed their willingness to work together. Actually, these 52 deputies were already known after the presidential election, but at the same time there are signals that I receive that it is not the fifty divnieks is not fifty-two. That there are also different opinions about whether it is good to form such a small coalition with a sufficiently large influence of “Latvijai und Ventspils” (LunV). Therefore, I think there could still be all sorts of surprises if this model moves forward,” said Jānis Dombrava, a member of the NA board.
The party LunV, which is subject to US sanctions and was convicted in the first instance of the court, led by the former mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs, has a cooperation agreement with ZZS, which has two of its representatives in the Saeima faction – Gundars Daudze and Jānis Vucāns.
The belief that JV will be afraid to go to the government, where the decision-making could be blocked by two votes of the people of Ventspils, was probably also the reason for AS’s maneuvers throughout the week.
First, the AS promised to announce its decision to join the four-party coalition on Tuesday evening, but instead only expressed that they had understood a better coalition model, which they did not reveal immediately. Only a day later and after a meeting with the President of the State, Edvards Smiltēns, co-chairman of AS, read it: the trio of the current government should work in the coalition, but it should only be expanded in such a way that ministries important to national security do not come under the control of “green farmers” or “Progressives”.
Viktors Valainis, the head of the ZZS faction, this week criticized the leading politicians of the AS for being afraid to make decisions and constantly postponing them, and expressed his readiness to cooperate with the AS deputies despite this.
However, as the AS remains outside the coalition, its 52 votes could also be joined by the voice of non-factional MP, leader of the “Honor to serve Riga” (GKR) party, Oļegs Burovs, it follows from Valain’s statement.
“Cooperation with political parties must be looked at here. And also, as we see, here a series of political forces consists of several political parties. Oleg Burov is also not simply Oleg Burov – it should never be perceived that way. It is a political party [GKR]an organization with which we are also currently consulting on other issues, but we see that it is possible to build cooperation with this political force,” says Valainis and also refers to the fact that GKR has just been included in the Riga City Council coalition, in which JV took the leading role with at the head of the new mayor Vilni ħirsi.
“Progressives”, on the other hand, ended up in opposition in Riga. Party co-chairman Andris Shuvajevs is in no hurry to reject the theoretical possibility of cooperation with Burov in the government coalition. The representative of “Progressivo” admits that, even if AS remains in the opposition, the coalition’s support in the Saeima could become wider over time thanks to the members of this faction: “It is generally good that the political force is ready to work in the opposition, but I certainly would not be surprised if in the event that a three-party coalition would be formed, if after some time there were individual MPs who would still look for opportunities to perhaps work with the coalition as well. It’s hard for me to say, but I wouldn’t be simply surprised, considering that I know several MPs in AS who have nevertheless come to work in politics .”
Evikas Siliņš’s deadline for AS’s response on joining the coalition was postponed several times – also after AS refused to participate in the meeting of all possible future government parties in the Government House library.
However, in the end, she decided on a deadline that also coincided with the one publicly stated by the President – noon on Friday, September 1, which would then allow politicians and the public to focus on Knowledge Day and the beginning of the new school year.
“Today we also agreed on the principles of good corporate governance, which should be followed in any case when forming the government, which, I think, is also the concern of this JSC. Since this is a decision of the JSC. We are, I have, in my opinion, done everything , listened to all their concerns. I have also answered about the separation of the potential influence of this ZZS from the sanctioned person, we have also spoken about this area of security and also the promise given to AS voters about the potential majoritarian election system… Everything else is in the hands of AS. I “I don’t see what I can do to make them decide on this decision. For my part, I think I have done the maximum possible,” said Siliņa.
On Thursday evening, a few hours after Silina’s statement, both members of the faction and board members of the parties forming the union gathered for an unannounced meeting in the premises of the AS Saeima faction. “de facto” came to the Saeima shortly after the end of the meeting, but no one wanted to reveal what was really decided, not even the leader of the faction and AS co-chairman Edgars Tavars: “We discussed this whole existing situation, we continue informal talks. As I said earlier in the day, nothing has changed. We sent you our vision of a possible expansion of the coalition, which we also communicated to you, and NA colleagues have also been informed about it. And, well, we are consistent in our decisions. (..) We see our challenges, which everyone must overcome together, we point out the risks. If people accept those risks and challenges, we can overcome them together. But if they say no, just no, that there isn’t – well, it’s no longer a partnership. We are all about working as partners. If we are offered the role of a strategic partner in the future coalition, then we discuss strategic issues with the strategic partner, especially issues related to national security.”
Although such an outcome was predicted in the political circles at least since Tuesday, AS gave a concrete answer about its participation in the coalition at the last moment – on Friday morning.
AS leaders in the Saeima claim that the decision, which actually means remaining in the opposition, is completely unanimous and the faction will remain united in the future.
However, “de facto” it is known that there are also completely opposite moods within the union: indignation at the relinquishment of power and anger at the reluctance to assume political responsibility, for example, for the Ministry of Economy.