(Bloomberg) -- Latvia’s president tapped Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins to start talks on forming a new government after winning a decisive victory in Saturday’s elections.
Karins, a US citizen who is staunch critic of Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine, led his New Unity party to win 26 seats in the Baltic state’s 100-member parliament. Voters also punished a party backed by ethnic Russians that had won the past three elections, denying it entry to the assembly.
The next government could comprise New Unity and two or three other parties, depending on the talks, that could give Karins a majority of as many as 64 seats. President Egils Levits demanded a detailed list of reforms and a government model before he formally nominates a prime minister after Nov. 1.
“I hope that these talks will be productive,” Levits said on Monday after meeting leaders from all seven parties that were elected to parliament. If the talks are successful, Karins “will give us news in a week,” Levits said.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine bolstered support for Karins, whose government pushed for harsher sanctions against Russia, and supplied Ukraine with weapons and political support in the EU and NATO.
Harmony, the party that had previously appealed to the ethnic Russians making up about a quarter of Latvia’s 1.9 million population, didn’t get the 5% required to win seats in the legislature.
Levits said he would name a prime minister candidate only after meeting the leaders of all parties who made it into the assembly. The president was briefly a teacher of Karins at a Latvian school in Germany, where Karins studied briefly after his family fled during Soviet rule last century.
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