3 Latvian parties form new government, leave out pro-Russian party

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Latvia's new center-right government has taken office after three parties signed a coalition agreement that excludes a pro-Russian party that emerged as the largest single party in last month's general election.

The Union of Greens and Farmers and Unity, both center-right parties, joined with the conservative National Alliance on Wednesday to form a Cabinet led by Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma.

The Moscow-friendly Harmony party, which draws its popularity from the former Soviet republic's sizable ethnic-Russian minority, won the most seats in the Oct. 4 elections.

However, the coalition parties command a clear majority with 61 lawmakers.

In a 61-39 vote later Wednesday, the 100-member Saeima, or Parliament, approved the majority coalition.