Given political and legal situation, Karins' decision to resign is understandable - Rinkevics

  • 2024-04-02
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Given the political and legal situation, Karins' decision to resign from the post of foreign minister is understandable, President Edgars Rinkevics told journalists following a meeting with Saeima Speaker Daiga Mierina (Greens/Farmers) on Tuesday. 

The president noted that prime ministers traditionally discuss candidates for foreign and defense ministers with the president. According to Rinkevics, this is the right practice, as quite a few presidential job duties are related to foreign and defense policy. The president indicated that this Wednesday, April 3, he would discuss the situation with Prime Minister Evika Silina (New Unity).

Commenting on criteria for choosing a new foreign minister, Rinkevics said that the most important thing was always the candidate's conviction on the fundamentals of European values, geopolitical issues and security policy. What counts is the candidate's vision of what the country should do to strengthen national security and European Union matters.

"Given the situation in the world and in the region, it is important that the candidate is able to get down to business without lengthy preparations. Don't ask me what I mean by "lengthy preparations". For any person, it takes weeks, not months, to figure out the tasks at hand and what needs to be done," the president said.

In Rinkevics' opinion, it should be someone with some understanding of foreign policy and political processes. Rinkevics stressed that he had not yet discussed with the prime minister how the process would be organized but that he understands that there is an intention to appoint the new foreign minister as quickly as possible

Asked whether the coalition partners had discussed possible candidates for the post of foreign minister, the Saeima speaker said that they had not done so because of the Easter holidays. Mierina expects the government coalition to discuss the matter at the next coalition meeting on April 8.

"It is important that New Unity nominates the next candidate for the post of foreign minister, so that the Saeima can approve it at its next sitting," Mierina said.

As reported, Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) announced his resignation last Thursday following a meeting with Silina.

Karins will officially resign on April 10. He explained that this date was chosen so that Saeima could approve a new foreign minister during a parliamentary sitting the next day - April 11.

For several months now, the scandal of private flights used by working delegations led by Karins during his time as prime minister has been a topic of public criticism.

As reported, the Prosecutor General's Office has opened and handed over to the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) for investigation the use of contract flights by Karins for working trips during his time in office.

According to public information, the General Prosecutor's Office carried out an investigation into the use of contract air travel services during the former PM's working trips.

The Prosecutor General's Office does not dispute that in the course of the performance of the duties of senior state officials, situations may arise when it is necessary to use the services of a contracted air transport for the purpose of securing a working trip.

LETA also reported, the special air trips made by the delegations led by Karins during his office as the prime minister, which have attracted criticism from a part of the public, cost EUR 613,830 from the state budget between 2021 and September 2023, according to the information gathered by the State Chancellery.