Latvia – The Government is formed by Krišjānis Kariņš

The 13th Parliament (Saeima) elections in Latvia took place on October 6, 2018. According to the Constitution of Latvia (Satversme), Article 56, the Government shall be formed by the person who has been invited by the State president to do so.

The formation of government took more than three months after the parliamentary elections.

On October 18, 2018, on the twelfth day after the elections and one day before the official election results were announced, State president Raimonds Vējonis convened meetings with elected political parties. On October 30, the State president held meetings with three Prime minister candidates from political parties (Artis Pabriks from the Development/For! alliance, Jānis Bordāns from the New Conservative Party, and Aldis Gobzems from the KPV LV party). Meetings with those candidates continued November 7, one day after the 13th Saeima began to work. On that day, the State president invited Jānis Bordāns, the New Conservative Party, to form the government and gave him two weeks to set up the government with the notice, that if it fails, another candidate will be invited. After unsuccessful government-building talks, on November 14th, the State president withdrew the invitation. 

On November 14, and then further on November 20 and 26, the State president continued to have meetings with three Prime minister candidates from the elected parties and with other members from other elected parties.

On November 26, the State president invited Aldis Gobzems from the KPV LV party to form the government, but on December 10 due to the lack of majority support in Saeima, Gobzems withdrew his candidature from the Prime minister position.

On December 10 and 11, the State president continued to have meetings with elected parties and on December 21, the State president met with Krišjānis Kariņš, New Unity, as a potential candidate to form the government. Meetings with elected parties continued December 28, 2018 and January 4, 2019.

On January 7, 2019 the State president invited Krišjānis Kariņš to form the government. On January 21, one day before the Saeima approved new government, there was a meeting between Krišjānis Kariņš and the State president.

On January 22, 2019, the Saeima approved the new government. The five-party coalition (New Unity, the New Conservative Party, the Development/For! alliance, the National Alliance and most of the KPV LV party) is now headed by the Latvian-American dual citizen Krišjānis Kariņš. Previously, the newly nominated Prime Minister was a Member of the European Parliament. Krišjānis Kariņš holds a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware, USA in 1964. His party, New Unity, represents the smallest party elected in the Saeima, holding just 8 mandates out of 100. Meanwhile, the largest party in Saeima, Harmony, was not even included in coalition formation talks after all other parties refused to cooperate with it.

The coalition might be characterized as centre-right. 61 Saeima deputies voted in favor of the government and 39 voted against. The complicated government formation talks were the longest in the history of Latvia.

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