Latvia’s Evika Silina secured a parliamentary majority to become the Baltic nation’s new prime minister as she promised to bolster defense spending in the face of Russian military aggression.
(Bloomberg) — Latvia’s Evika Silina secured a parliamentary majority to become the Baltic nation’s new prime minister as she promised to bolster defense spending in the face of Russian military aggression.
Lawmakers in Riga voted 53-39 on Friday to install the new three-party coalition. Silina’s center-right New Unity party forged an alliance with the Union of Greens and Farmers and the center-left Progressives, potentially moving policy in the nation of 1.9 million to the left.
“As long as one of our neighbors is an aggressive state, Latvia’s government’s first priority will be security,” Silina, 48, told parliament ahead of the confirmation vote. Latvia has already pledged to spend 3% of its economic output on defense, above the NATO benchmark of 2%.
Silina becomes Latva’s second female prime minister. Along with Kaja Kallas of Estonia and Lithuania’s premier, Ingrida Simonyte, Silina’s ascent means that all three Baltic nations — which reclaimed their independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s — have a woman as head of government.
Silina succeeds Krisjanis Karins, who brought down the previous government last month after falling out with his nationalist coalition partners. Amid speculation that he’ll seek a high-level position in the European Union, Karins will become her foreign minister.
Latvia, a member of the European Union as well as NATO, has been one of the harshest critics of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, supplying Kyiv with weapons and advocating for tougher sanctions against Moscow.
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