Latvian Prime Minister Dombrovskis steps down over supermarket collapse tragedy

  • 2013-11-27
  • From wire reports, RIGA

Latvian PM Valdis Dombrovskis (Photo by Tor Bernhard Slaathaug for The Baltic Times)

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis  is stepping down, the premier has announced.

Following a meeting with Latvian President, Andris Berzins, Dombrovskis said he takes political responsibility for the Zolitude tragedy last week, reports LETA.

At least 54 people have died and dozens more injured after the Maxima supermatket in Rigas Zolitude reigon collaposed on Thursday, Nov. 21. 

A police investigation is currently ongoing in to the causes of the collapse. 

"Latvia needs to have a government that will supported by the Saeima majority and deal with the current situation in the nation," said Dombrovskis.

"I wish to thank Latvia's society for support during the trying period when the country was battling the economic and financial crisis to return to the path of growth. I also apologize for all that we have failed to achieve."

President Berzins said this was a week of sorrow.

He added: "I wish to ask every person looking ahead to evaluate their responsibility and act accordingly," said Berzins.

Berzins has called the National Security Council's meeting for December 4 to review matters concerning the disaster in Zolitude.

Meanwhile, The Saeima will hold an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss matters related to the Riga supermarket tragedy.

It is planned to include two bills on the meeting's agenda - a special bill which would give social guarantees to all the victims of the supermarket tragedy, as well as amendments to the Construction Law, which foresees the renewal of the work of the State Construction Inspection.

President Andris Berzins has set the goal of a new government this year, the president's press office said.

During the government formation process, Berzins will meet with all political forces represented in the government.

Taking into consideration that this week is a week of mourning and the funerals for the victims of Zolitude disaster, in respecting the process of formation of a new government, the president will provide no comment on the subject until the first round of consultations about the new government ends.

After that, Berzins will inform reporters about his conclusions and vision of further developments.

Meanwhile, Riga mayor Nils Usakovs has rejected calls to step down over the tragedy.

Posting on his facebook account, the mayor said  that he supported the search and rescue operations from the start. Usakovs said that his task has been to ensure that victims of the tragedy receive the necessary assistance.

He added that five months ago he received the support of 58 percent of voters in Riga, and that he believes he can best serve the interest of his voters by remaining in office.

Dombrovskis has been the prime minister of Latvia since March 2009. He was first confirmed premier on Mar. 12, 2009, and his second government was confirmed on Nov. 3, 2010. Dombrovskis was appointed the prime minister the third time on October 25, 2011.