Latvian President Nominates Kucinskis to Form Government

  • Previous prime minister quit last month as support ebbed
  • New cabinet inherits economy growing at fastest in 20 months

Latvia’s president nominated Maris Kucinskis of the Union of Greens and Farmers to form a new government after the Baltic nation’s previous prime minister quit last month amid falling popularity.

Kucinskis, 54, a former minister for regional and municipal affairs, must now seek backing from other parties before facing a confidence vote in parliament, President Raimonds Vejonis said Wednesday in the capital, Riga. Laimdota Straujuma, the country’s first woman premier, resigned Dec. 7 after support for her party dipped below that of its coalition partners.

“I plan in the next few days to start to create an action plan and proposals for a declaration,” Kucinskis said after the announcement. He called on coalition member Unity, which had a rival candidate for prime minister and has led Latvian governments since 2009, to remain in the next government. “We have to think all together about the development of the state.”

Parties in Latvia, a nation of 2 million people that’s a member of the European Union, the euro region and NATO, haven’t been able to agree among themselves on a new prime minister, prompting intervention by Vejonis. The new government will inherit an economy that grew 3.3 percent in the third quarter, the fastest pace in almost two years.

Bond Yields

The yield on euro-denominated government debt due 2024 was 0.852 percent at 11:39 a.m. in Riga, about seven basis points lower than when Straujuma resigned. It’s fallen about 41 basis points during the past year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“Kucinskis is an experienced politician and will likely have a steady hand on
his cabinet,” Otilia Dhand, senior vice president at the Teneo Intelligence consultancy in Brussels, said by e-mail. “Any substantial changes in key policies are unlikely, though Kucinskis will likely bring a stronger focus on regional development and a less welcoming stance on refugees.”

Straujuma took office in 2014 after the resignation of Valdis Dombrovskis, the country’s longest-serving prime minister since 1991. Kucinskis, who has a degree in economics and management from the University of Latvia, led the nation’s association of large cities and served as a member of parliament five times.

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