Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 134

Prime Minister-designate Maris Grinblats said yesterday that he has made progress toward putting together a new, right-of-center coalition government, and will submit it and its program for parliamentary approval next week. The government is to be comprised of Grinblats’ Fatherland and Freedom bloc, Latvia’s Way, and Farmers’ Union, and would command only 47 seats in the 100-seat parliament. Grinblats says that he hopes to be able to detach some individual deputies from the leftist coalition, or alternatively enlist the cooperation of the leftist Unity Party as such. But the Unity Party demurs; and the leftist coalition unveiled plans also yesterday to take over most parliamentary committee chairmanships, after having almost swept the parliamentary leadership posts last week. (14)

Fatherland and Freedom is considered right-wing and its two allies, right-of center. Latvia’s Way is the mainstay of the outgoing government, and Farmers’ Union is the political home of President Guntis Ulmanis. The Unity Party is the pro-reform wing of Latvia’s former Communist Party. Unity Party chief Alberts Kauls, formerly an adviser to USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev, was barred from running for parliament under an anti-Communist law enacted by parties which now court him. The government crisis has dragged on since the September 30-October 1 parliamentary elections produced a leftist majority, partly due to the rise of the populist People’s Movement for Latvia, which ran mainly on "rightist" slogans before allying itself with the left.

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