The center-right majority that took control in parliament after last October’s election seems poised to take over the government as well. After just eight months in office, Prime Minister Vilis Kristopans of Latvia’s Way has resigned with his cabinet, leaving the path open for a more conservative coalition that better reflects the parliamentary balance.
The collapse of the Kristopans government follows a realignment in which conservative parties inside the government reached political agreement with conservative parties outside it. That left the prime minister, who has no real personal following, unable to command a parliamentary majority. Parliament’s choice last month of the non-party, Canadian-raised folklorist Vaira Vike-Freiberga to serve as Latvia’s president signaled a rightward shift in the political balance, and the next government is likely to reflect the line-up of forces that prevailed in the presidential balloting. The new government is likely to pursue a pro-West course with greater vigor and urgency than the Kristopans government was prepared to do.