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In LatviaYesterday, 17:1117Infographics The government of Evikas Siliņa starts work Added

On Friday, September 15, in an extraordinary session, the Saeima expressed confidence in the new Cabinet of Ministers, which will be headed by Prime Minister Evika Siliņa.

The new head of government, Evika Siliņa, participates in the ceremonial event in the Cabinet of Ministers, during which the former prime minister adds his photo to the gallery of former prime ministers and drives a symbolic nail into the flagpole.
The new head of government, Evika Siliņa, participates in the ceremonial event in the Cabinet of Ministers, during which the former prime minister adds his photo to the gallery of former prime ministers and drives a symbolic nail into the flagpole. Photo: Zane Biter/LETA

On Friday, September 15, in an extraordinary session, the Saeima expressed confidence in the new Cabinet of Ministers, which will be headed by Prime Minister Evika Siliņa.

53 MPs voted for the new government, while 39 MPs voted against it.

At the time of the vote, eight MPs did not register for the session and therefore did not take part in the vote – “United List” MP Igors Rajevs, National Union (NA) leader Raivis Dzintars, NA MP Aleksandrs Kirsteins, non-partisan MP Gloria Grevcova and four “Stability” MPs Yekaterina Doroshkevičas , Natalja Marchenko-Jodko, Viktorija Pleškāne and Viktor Pučka.

The government of Evikas Silina starts work
The government of Evikas Silina starts work Photo: Saeima of the Republic of Latvia

In the new government, those already working in the previous Cabinet of Ministers have retained their positions – Minister of Finance Arvils Asheradens (JV), Minister of Justice Inese Lībiņa-Egnere (JV) and Minister of Education and Science Anda Čakša (JV).

Photo: The ceremonial transfer of the powers of the Prime Minister is taking place in the Cabinet of Ministers

Krišjānis Kariņš (JV), the former acting minister and head of the previous government, has been officially confirmed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Saeima deputy Rihards Kozlovskis (JV) has returned to the position of Minister of the Interior after a break of several years.

Following the decision of the Saeima, the former chairman of the Kuldīga County Council, member of the Saeima Inga Bērziņa (JV) has become the minister of environmental protection and regional development. On the other hand, the position of Minister of Health has been entrusted to a doctor, member of the Saeima, Hossam Abu Meri (JV).

Viktors Valainis, the chairman of the Saeima faction of this political power, has been confirmed from the ZZS as the minister of economy, as the minister of agriculture – the member of the Saeima Armands Krauze (ZZS), as the minister of welfare – the former minister of welfare, member of the Saeima Uldis Augulis (ZZS), and as the minister of climate and energy – parliamentarian Kaspars Melnis (ZZS).

From the “Progressives”, the director of the Riga Cinema Museum of the Latvian Academy of Culture, Riga City Council member Agnese Logina (P) has been confirmed as the minister of culture, Andris Sprūds (P), the chairman of the European Affairs Commission of the Saeima, will be the defense minister, and Kaspars, the head of the “Progressive” Saeima faction, will be the minister of traffic. Brisken.

The new government, in terms of the proportion of the genders represented in it, actually returns to the first Cabinet of Ministers headed by Laimdota Straujumas, where, in addition to the female prime minister, there were four other female ministers. Such a number of female ministers is less than in the previous Cabinet of Ministers.

The future coalition has the votes of 52 MPs, moreover, the independent MP, chairman of the board of “Honor to serve Rīga” Oļegs Burovs, whose represented party has agreed on cooperation with ZZS, also previously pledged to support the approval of the government.

Of the 16 positions in the government and the Saeima distributed by the newly formed ruling coalition of the parliament, half or eight are for the JV represented by the future prime minister, five for the ZZS, and three for the “Progressives”.

This also means that the position of the Speaker of the Saeima will be under the responsibility of ZZS, and in the near future, a member of the Saeima, the former chairman of the Constitutional Court, Gunārs Kūtris (ZZS) will be promoted to that post.

The need to approve the second government during the 14th Saeima arose after the second Kariņas government fell after long attempts to review the relations of the previous partners. The life of Kariņš’s second government was the third shortest in the history of independent Latvia.

Meanwhile, Kariņš himself is currently the second longest-serving Prime Minister in the history of independent Latvia. He assumed the position of Prime Minister on January 23, 2019, when the Cabinet of Ministers was tried for a very long time after the 13th Saeima elections, retaining his position even when he started working for the next Saeima. In total, Kariņš spent 1,668 days as head of government.

The sustainability of all the governments led by Kariņas was questioned from the moment they started. After the 13th Saeima elections, the government was formed only in the third round – the two initially nominated prime ministerial candidates failed to form the government, but Kariņa managed to obtain the necessary majority, creating a complex coalition of five parties. The government at that time was predicted to have a short life, taking into account the very different ideological vectors of the parties, but, contrary to the predictions, the government lasted throughout the convocation of the 13th Saeima, despite experiencing significant changes in its composition.

Kariņš’s second government was also created after difficult negotiations with the parties elected in the 14th Saeima. This process will go down in history with discussions about the “legs of the table”, that is, whether the coalition will be more stable if it has three or four parties. Unlike the first Kariņš government, where the JV had the smallest number of votes, after the 14th Saeima elections, it won the largest number of mandates, but Kariņš did not manage to convince the “United List” and the National Union of the need to include the “Progressives” in the team even at the beginning of the formation of the government. Kariņš repeatedly pointed out that the mentioned partners hinder decision-making in the government, while AS and NA emphasized for a long time that the current government is the best possible one.

An important turning point was the presidential elections, in which former President Egils Levits refused to participate. The coalition partners failed to agree on a single candidate, and the parties put forward their own candidates – AS put forward the candidacy of businessman Uldas Pīlēnas, and JV – foreign minister Edgars Rinkēvičs. NA did not nominate a new candidate, but initially its candidate was Levits. Even before the presidential elections, speculation began about the votes with which the next President would be elected, as it was clear that the votes of the coalition would not be enough. In the competition of three candidates, Rinkevičas was elected as president – only JV voted for him from the coalition, while the rest of the votes were secured by ZZS together with “Progresivajie”, whose candidate “dropped out” already at the beginning of the elections. The election of Rinkēvičs opened the possibility for speculations about “returning the debt to ZZS and the Progressives”.

The summer of 2023 was spent in political consultations, as Kariņas tried to convince his partners of the need to expand the coalition, as it would be necessary to increase the number of votes, as well as promote “dynamism”, which the government lacked in the Prime Minister’s opinion. The expansion of the government could be achieved by involving ZZS and “Progresīvos”, which was strongly opposed by NA and AS.

After the summer holidays and a total of more than two months of negotiations, Kariņš came to his partners with a final offer – to rotate some ministers and agree on five priorities, promising that in case of refusal, there will be progress towards a government with a new composition. AS and NA rejected Kariņš’s offer, after which Kariņš announced consultations on forming a new government. The above-mentioned caused dissatisfaction on the part of the previous partners – they expressed that the above-mentioned was against the Constitution, because the government can only be formed by a candidate selected by the President, but Kariņš has not resigned at all. Although initially Kariņš, at least according to what was said publicly, was determined to form and lead the next government as well, he announced his resignation and the need to promote a new candidate for the position of prime minister in JV, which means that Kariņš’s work as the head of the government ends.

JV chose Minister of Welfare Evika Siliņa as Kariņas’ successor, who was then nominated for this position by the President Edgars Rinkēvičs in accordance with the Constitution.

The process of forming the new coalition after the nomination of Silina drew criticism for the long-term non-nomination of ministerial candidates.

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