President Guntis Ulmanis announced yesterday, while on an official visit to Germany, the nomination of Andris Skele as prime minister of Latvia. A nonconventional solution to end a protracted government crisis, Skele’s candidacy has been under discussion in Riga since last week and has picked up support from most parliamentary parties. Skele, born in 1958 and a professional agronomist, is one of Latvia’s most successful entrepreneurs. He is currently the chairman of the Latvian Shipping Company, sits on several other corporate boards, headed Latvia’s Privatization Agency, and prior to that privatized much of Latvia’s food processing sector while acting minister of agriculture. He is said to favor anti-inflationary policies, investment incentives, and entry into the European Union.
The consensus forming around Skele reflects a general effort to overcome the bloc system in the hung parliament. Since the September 30/October 1 election, the two rival political blocs of equal strength have checkmated each other’s efforts to form a government. Leaders from both blocs have lately sought a respected nonpolitical figure to form a broadly-based government drawing support from parties in both existing blocs. Ulmanis has asked Skele to wind up business activities in order to avoid conflict of interest as prime minister. The nominee and the party leaders now hope to form the government before Christmas. (14)
Moldovan President Lashes Out At Press.