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Three Latvian parties sign coalition deal to form government


HELSINKI (AP) — Three Latvian parties signed a deal Wednesday to form a coalition government more than two months after a general election in the Baltic country that was shaped by neighboring Russia’s war in Ukraine and economic woes.

The new Cabinet will be led by Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins’ ruling center-right New Unity party, which won the most votes, 19%, in the Oct. 1 general election. The junior partners will be the conservative National Alliance and the new centrist electoral alliance United List.

The parties pledged to direct the new government’s work to five areas in particular: Latvia’s security, education, energy, competitiveness and quality of life.

In a joint declaration, the parties stressed that the goal of the second government of Karin, who has been prime minister since 2019, is “the transformation of the economy” through polices that “provide security and prosperity to the people of Latvia.”

The parties would control 54 seats in Latvia’s 100-seat parliament, the Saeima, which still needs to approve the deal in a vote. Only seven parties or electoral alliances passed the 5% barrier in the election and secured representation in the legislature.

Most notably, none of the parties catering to Latvia’s sizable ethnic Russian minority, which makes up more than 25% of the country’s 1.9 million people, managed to secure a seat in the parliament.

Latvia has been a member of NATO and the European Union since 2004.