The "rightist" National Bloc and "centrist" Latvia’s Way party have drafted a governing program which aims for: membership in the European Union and NATO, the formation of a Baltic customs union and common market, accelerated privatization, anti-inflationary policies, and opposition to constitutional changes, (implying no automatic naturalization of Soviet-era settlers). The rival left-of-center and leftist National Conciliation Bloc, which draws, in part, on the Russian vote, also lays claim to forming the new government with a program envisaging greater reliance on the Russian market, accession to the EU but not to NATO, state-financed social welfare programs, protectionist measures, and accelerated naturalization of Russian settlers. President Guntis Ulmanis is expected to nominate a prime minister at the new parliament’s first session this week. (14)
The September 30-October 1 election produced a hung parliament, with each of the two coalitions holding 47 to 48 seats in the 100-seat parliament, and the balance of power in the hands of the Socialist Party of old-line communists leaning toward the National Conciliation Bloc. The parties of the incumbent government of prime minister Maris Gailis (Latvia’s Way) hope to form a minority government that might be able to enlist support from a small number of opposition deputies on given issues as these come up in parliament.