Latvia's lack of government should not affect joining euro: president

RIGA Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:50am EST

Latvia's President Andris Berzins addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Latvia's President Andris Berzins addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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RIGA (Reuters) - Latvia is likely to enter the euro zone in January without a permanent government, but that should not affect the changeover to the euro, Latvia's president said on Wednesday, after talks among political parties failed to produce a new prime minister.

Latvia's former prime minister, Valdis Dombrovskis, will serve as acting head of the government until a new government is approved. Dombrovskis resigned in November after a fatal supermarket collapse in Riga.

"Everything that was needed (for entering the euro zone) has been done," President Andris Berzins said at a news conference when he was asked about joining. "Of course, there can be some surprises."

Berzins said he wanted Latvia's political parties to come up with another candidate by the end of this year, after rejecting the nomination of Defence Minister Artis Pabriks.

"My position was that I would want to have a clear idea this year," Berzins told journalists after a second round of talks with political parties. "Otherwise, I will name my own candidate, at earliest on January 7."

He also said he wanted a candidate who was knowledgeable about economics and who had wider support in the parliament than Dombrovskis. The Dombrovskis government was formed by three center-right parties, which lost a majority in the 100-seat parliament after party defections.

The new coalition could include the opposition Union of Greens and Farmers to form a majority.

The next parliamentary elections in Latvia are due in October 2014.

(Reporting by Aija Braslina. Editing by Nerijus Adomaitis and Larry King)

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