Latvia PM resigns amid coalition doubts over leadership

Latvia PM resigns amid coalition doubts over leadership

By Gederts Gelzis

RIGA (Reuters) – Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma said on Monday that she was resigning her post after political squabbles within her center right ruling coalition & dissatisfaction approximately her leadership.

Straujuma made the announcement after meeting with the country's President Raimonds Vejonis. She gave no more details.

p> Straujuma's hawkish ruling coalition won a 2014 general election after taking a complex line over the actions of Russia, its neighbor & former ruler, in Ukraine.

The coalition was made up of the Unity party, the Nationalist Alliance & the Union of Greens & Farmers. But many members were unhappy with her leadership style.

"She has been quite a satisfactory Prime Minister in the sense that she has been able to consolidate this very diverse ruling coalition. But at the same time, there was quite a serious problem of political leadership," political analyst Ivars Ijabs said.

"The ruling party, "The Unity" party, was very much dissatisfied with this very kind of ambiguous & grey, & very civil service-like behavior of Straujuma," Ijabs said.

President Vejonis said he regretted that "internal political quarrels" had scuppered Straujuma's government & called on the political parties to rapidly hammer out a new leadership for the Baltic country.

"This is not a moment where we can wait for too long time," he told a news conference. "The internal political situation has caused this crisis, yet we moreover have to take into account … the escalation of the security situation in Europe."

Latvia is a member of both NATO & the European Union & has backed EU economic sanctions imposed against Moscow over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula & its support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Some fear that Latvia's Russian-speaking communities could become geopolitical flashpoints, potentially manipulated by Putin to destabilize the region. Moscow has long complained approximately the rights of ethnic Russians in the Baltics.

The government has taken a robust stance on security. After taking over as prime minister in January, Straujuma has boosted defense spending & joined Baltic neighbors Estonia & Lithuania in pressing for a bigger NATO presence in the region.

Last year's victory brought a sigh of relief from many worried that the pro-Russian Concord party might gain power & donate Russian President Vladimir Putin a friendly voice in the European Union.

(Writing by Alistair Scrutton; Editing by Niklas Pollard)

Politics & GovernmentGovernmentLaimdota Straujuma

Source: “Reuters”

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