RIGA – Parliament on Thursday confirmed Aleksejs Loskutovs as the new head of the country's anticorruption bureau in a highly contested vote, and Integration Minister Nils Muiznieks survived a crucial no-confidence vote.
Sixty-four deputies voted for Loskutovs appointment, which had been proposed by the Cabinet of Ministers, while 32 – from New Era and For Fatherland and Freedom – voted again.
The appointment of Loskutovs, who is currently an anticorruption bureau employee, has been widely criticized in the press due to doubts over his integrity and the manner in which the ruling coalition has dealt with outgoing bureau chief, Juta Strike.
All public polls show that Strike enjoys far more support with the populace than does Loskutovs.
Former Prime Minister and New Era leader Einars Repse said Loskutovs was not someone the public trusted and that he would not stand pursue the battle against endemic corruption among top officials.
The opposition also criticized Loskutovs for sharing details of his sex life with an erotic magazine several years ago.
Speaking to the press after the vote, Loskutovs thanked MPs for their support but said that some had told lies when discussing his candidacy. He said the opposition factions would not have had to tell lies if they had agreed to meet with him before the vote.
When asked about public support for Strike, Loskutovs said, "The public opinion is always sought only when it plays into hands of one or the other party."
Strike was appointed head of the bureau by then PM Repse after Parliament had failed to confirm his candidacy for the position.
Loskutovs, 42, has headed the Bureau for Corruption Prevention and Control's corruption analysis and counteraction methodology development section since last year. He has several degrees and has delivered reports at national and international seminars and conferences. He has 15 years of experience as a lecturer and 44 publications about a number of criminal law and criminology problems.
He is married and has three children.
Also, MPs turned down a no-confidence vote in Integration Minister Muiznieks that had been proposed by right-wing opposition New Time Party and For Fatherland and Freedom. The motion was rejected with 59 votes against. The left-wing National Harmony and Latvia's Socialist Party also voted against the no-confidence motion, whereas the ultra left-wing For Human Rights in a United Latvia did not take part in the vote.
New Era and For Fatherland and Freedom last week demanded Muiznieks' resignation due to what they considered the ineffectual work of the minister in dealing with growing tensions in society.