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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 October, 2004, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Vote collapses Latvia government
Indulis Emsis
Indulis Emsis is in Rome for the signing of the EU Constitution
The government of Latvia has resigned after parliament rejected a draft budget for the coming year.

The minority government of Prime Minister Indulis Emsis received only 39 votes in favour of the budget, with 53 against, and five abstentions.

Mr Emsis, whose country was one of 10 states to join the European Union in May, is in Rome for the signing of the EU Constitution on Friday.

President Vaira Vike-Freiberga must now nominate a new prime minister.

Mr Emsis told Latvian Radio said he would discuss the "unexpected" situation with the president, who was also due in Rome for the constitution signing.

"The situation whereby coalition partners themselves do not vote for their budget, even for the budget of their finance minister, well, that is not typical," he said.

Fragile coalition

The upset came after the leading party in the coalition, the centre-right People's Party, sided with the opposition.

The People's Party, Mr Emsis' Greens and Farmers Party and Latvia's First Party had formed a government in March, after Prime Minister Einars Repse, resigned less than three months before the May 2004 EU entry date.

The coalition was fragile, and narrowly survived a vote of no confidence in September.

Leaders from the People's Party, For Fatherland and Freedom and New Era, which both voted against the budget on Thursday, called for talks to form a new government.

Mr Emsis, of the Greens and Farmers Union, was Europe's first Green prime minister and oversaw final preparations for Latvia's entry into Nato and the EU.

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12 Jun 04  |  Europe
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01 May 04  |  Europe
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11 Apr 03  |  Europe
Country profile: Latvia
01 Apr 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Latvia
02 Apr 03  |  Country profiles

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