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Attempts by Latvian ruling parties to agree on new gov't fail again

RIGA, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- Attempts by Latvia's three ruling parties - the center-right Unity Party, the centrist Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS) and the right-wing National Alliance - to agree on the distribution of ministerial portfolios in the new coalition government failed again on Friday, Unity leader Solvita Aboltina told journalists.

Although she did not reveal details, Aboltina indicated that the disagreements were not about candidates for ministerial portfolios, but rather the distribution of areas of responsibility among coalition partners. Despite these unresolved issues, work will begin on the new government's declaration, local media Diena reported.

The three ruling parties have planned to resume negotiations on Oct. 20.

Roberts Zile of National Alliance voiced hopes that a compromise would be reached soon, ideally on Monday. "I think that the disagreements are not so big," Diena quoted Zile as saying.

The politicians said they did not discuss particular candidates for ministerial posts during Friday's talks.

ZZS and National Alliance believe that Unity should take charge of the health sector, but Unity does not want to give up its control of the finance ministry.

Aboltina, the outgoing speaker of the Latvian parliament, endorsed Inara Murniece of the National Alliance party as her possible successor in the top parliamentary post.

On Wednesday of this week, President Andris Berzins charged incumbent Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma with forming the next government. The president also approved the current ruling parties' decision to carry on as a tripartite coalition.

Straujuma continued talks with the three ruling parties on Friday in order to strike a deal over her new Cabinet of Ministers.

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