Latvian politics is unexpected. With all the problems in the governing coalition, people were expecting one of parties in it to splinter. And, now, a party is falling apart. But it's not a coalition party, it's the opposition's New Era Party, which has built itself on blasting everything that the coalition does.
2 members of parliament have quit New Era: its 2007 presidential candidate Sandra Kalniete and the former minister of education Ina Druviete. 3 more are about to quit: Kārlis Šadurskis (formerly, the chairman of New Era faction in the parliament), Ilma Čepāne (a high-profile judge of the Constitutional Court, before she joined New Era) and Uldis Grava (the former head of Latvian TV, also before joing New Era). Also leaving are mayors of 8 towns and villages and 14 other regional New Era leaders.
New Era has lost 5 of 18 members of the parliament and at least a half of its high profile members (Kalniete, Druviete and Čepāne were all #1 on New Era candidate lists in the 2006 election in their respective regions). I didn't see this coming and I doubt if anyone else did.
The details of what happened are not known. The New Era's remaining leadership claims that the local leaders have been pressured into leaving by the coalition government denying funding to their local governments. (OK, this might explain the decision by mayors of towns but what about Kalniete, Grava, Čepāne, etc.? They don't look like people who would give in to political pressure.) Those leaving are saying they wanted New Era to be in the new coalition of Ivars Godmanis and felt that their opinion was totally ignored by New Era's leadership.
Given the recent history, we expected another government crisis. Instead, we got a crisis in the opposition. Developing...