Row heats up over Piks' replacement

  • 2004-07-08
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA – The troubled minority coalition is about to run into another political battle, as it attempts to have Artis Pabriks of the People's Party approved as foreign minister to replace the outgoing Rihards Piks, who was recently elected to the European Parliament.

The two right-wing opposition parties, New Era and For Fatherland and Freedom, said they rule out supporting any minister in the current government, while the left-wing National Harmony Party, which helped the minority government come to power back in March, is also unlikely to back Pabriks, the Baltic News Service reported.
New Era parliamentary faction chairman, Krisjanis Karins, said that his party "would never vote in favor of ministers in the current government.""Politics is not conducted among individuals – but among political organizations. If Mr. Pabriks wants New Era's support, let him get the People's Party to create a new government together with New Era," said Karins.
For Fatherland and Freedom's parliamentary faction chairman, Maris Grinblats, said the part was not going to vote for any ministers of the current government. National Harmony Party leader Janis Jurkans was skeptical about lending his party's support to Pabriks.
"We think Pabriks is not yet mature enough for such a responsible office," he said.Pabriks himself remained optimistic, saying he hoped that the parties would think not only about political affiliation when it came time to vote.
"If New Era and Fatherland and For Fatherland and Freedom before May 1 had no problem with voting together with the current government on amendments required for Latvia to join the EU, I do not see why they should not vote for me, if my personality and goals are acceptable to them," said Pabriks, who is currently the chairman of Parliament's foreign affairs committee.
Foreign Minister Rihards Piks is set to leave his office on July 20 to take his seat in the Europarliament.