Latvia’s center-right coalition has formed a negotiation group to agree on the next government after securing a safe majority in parliament in last Saturday’s general election. The parliamentary election, however, was narrowly won by the opposition leftist pro-Russia Harmony party with 23.2 percent of the vote, but its chances of being taken into the new government appear to be slight, given that the three ruling parties have won 56 percent support between them. The Unity party emerged as the runner-up in the election, winning 21.6 percent of the vote, Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS) came third with 19.7 percent and the National Alliance took fourth place winning 16.5 percent of the vote.
Two newcomers, the Latvian Bloc of Regions which unites Latvia’s regional parties, and For Latvia from the Heart, a leftish party founded by former auditor-general Inguna Sudraba, have also won seats in Latvian parliament, the Saeima.
The negotiation group, which includes representatives of the center-right Unity party, the nationalist conservative National Alliance and the centrist ZZS, convened for its first meeting on Monday to tackle the most pressing issue, namely, whether to admit anyone else into the coalition.