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Crucial anticorruption post about to be filled

  • 2004-05-27
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA – The Cabinet of Ministers has thrown its support behind Alekseijs Loskutovs as its candidate to head the country’s Bureau for the Prevention and Control of Corruption for the next five years.

The Cabinet vote, among the three candidates for the job, consisted of a secret ballot, leaving ministers open to scorn.
"Evidently, the Cabinet ministers are afraid to make their opinion known openly because it contradicts to opinion of society," Krisjanis Karins, head of New Era's parliamentary faction.
Loskutovs' candidacy, which must be confirmed by Parliament, has created ill-will among opposition on the right, who want acting bureau chief Juta Strike to stay in the crucial law enforcement position.
New Time and For Fatherland and Freedom have already stated that Loskutovs has no hope for their support. Giving that the ruling coalition is a minority one controlling only 47 votes in Parliament, the swing vote lies with leftist forces. Both the National Harmony Party and For Human Rights in a United Latvia have stated publicly that they would make up their minds only after meeting with Loskutovs.
Maris Grinblats, faction head of For Fatherland and Freedom in Parliament, did not rule out that the Cabinet selected Loskutovs solely on the basis that he would be able to garner support from leftist forces.
Relations between Loskutovs, an anticorruption bureau employee, and current head Strike, have been tense, and it is expected that Strike, who is supported by New Era, will leave is Loskutovs is confirmed by lawmakers.
The anticorruption bureau was created in 2002 as an effort to combat what many consider is Latvia's single biggest liability and threat to national security. However, in the almost two years of existence, the bureau has been plagued by revolving chiefs and partisan politics.
The confirmation vote could take place as early Thursday.