Latvia Picks New Candidate in Third Bid to Form Government

(Bloomberg) -- Latvia’s president nominated a new candidate for prime minister, a third stab at forming a government since inconclusive elections three months ago.

President Raimonds Vejonis picked Krisjanis Karins, 54, of the New Unity party, the smallest of five in a proposed coalition. The U.S.-born former economy minister and member of the European Parliament is expected to present a Cabinet for a parliamentary vote this month, Vejonis told reporters Monday in Riga. Previous attempts by candidates from bigger parties failed.

Latvia Picks New Candidate in Third Bid to Form Government

The Baltic European Union and NATO member has struggled to form a government since the elections brought three new parties to a fractured legislature and the vote’s winner, the Russia-leaning Harmony, failed to find ruling partners. If Karins is successful, he’ll face challenges from repairing the reputation of the nation’s scandal-hit financial sector to Brexit and worries about regional security.

“The main question is sorting out the state’s financial sector,” Karins said after the nomination. Latvia’s upcoming assessment by Moneyval, the anti-money-­laundering watchdog of the 47-nation Council of Europe, “is actually really serious,” he said.

Karins’s coalition plans to make the fight against corruption and tax evasion a priority as well as education, health care and demographics.

Karins also named his proposed Cabinet, with former finance and welfare minister Janis Reirs expected to take the finance chief’s portfolio and Edgars Rinkevics seen keeping the foreign minister’s job.

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