Latvia’s parliament on Wednesday approved the Baltic country’s new five-party, center-right coalition government, nearly four months after a general election, breaking the deadlock on the formation of a Cabinet in the small nation’s highly fragmented political scene. In a 61-39 vote, the 100-seat Saeima legislature gave the green light to Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins’ majority government. The broad-based coalition is made up of five of the seven parties represented in the parliament which agreed earlier Wednesday on a deal.
The Harmony party — favored by Latvia’s sizable ethnic-Russian minority — won almost 20 percent of the votes in the Oct. 6 election and became the largest party.
However, it was left in opposition, reflecting tensions between Latvians and the Russian-speaking community — a legacy of nearly 50 years of Soviet occupation that ended with Latvia’s independence in 1991.
Karins, a 54-year-old dual Latvian-U.S. citizen born in Wilmington, Delaware, is a member of the New Unity party, which has the fewest seats in parliament.