Latvia’s prime minister announces resignation

By Andrius Sytas and Janis Laizans

RIGA (Reuters) – Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins announced his resignation on Monday, blaming a breakdown in relations with parts of his multi-party governing government.

“This Thursday I will submit the resignation of myself and this cabinet to the president,” he told a press conference.

Alongside its Baltic neighbours Lithuania and Estonia, Latvia is a leading voice in pushing the European Union and NATO to increase pressure on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Karins’ centre-right New Unity party won a national election in October 2022, gaining 26 of 100 seats in a fractured parliament where seven parties are represented.

He blamed coalition partners “blocking the work for prosperity and economic growth” for Monday’s decision, according to a posting on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Karins’s party governed the European Union nation of 1.9 million, with support from the conservative National Alliance and the United List of smaller parties giving him a narrow parliamentary majority.

But relations with the coalition soured after it failed to field a joint candidate a presidential election in May.

On Friday, Karins made an abortive attempt to bring more parties into government.

They included the left-leaning Progressives party and the Greens and the Farmers Union, a coalition of conservative groups fronted by Aivars Lembergs, the mayor of port town Ventspils who was put on a U.S. sanctions list for alleged corruption in 2019.

Karins’ New Unity party plans to select its candidate for prime minister on Wednesday, he said.

President Edgars Rinkevics has responsibility for giving a mandate to a new prime minister to try to form a government. That candidate would also face a parliamentary vote of confidence.

Latvia’s next parliamentary election is scheduled for 2026.

(Reporting by Janis Laizans and Andrius Sytas, editing by Terje Solsvik and John Stonestreet)