RIGA - Parliament approved a new foreign minister on Wednesday, avoiding a potential government crisis as lawmakers gave their support to Artis Pabriks' candidacy.
Pabriks, a member of the People’s Party, gained 55 votes, as a group of leftist legislators, fearing a government collapse, threw their support behind the right-wing nominee.
Had the confirmation vote failed, the minority government of Prime Minister Indulis Emsis – which includes the People’s Party – was likely to collapse, setting the stage for an even stronger nationalist government, a development left-wing parliamentarians fear most.
The People’s Party even warned on the eve of the vote that a rejection of Pabriks’ nomination would spell the end of its participation in the three-party minority coalition.
Thirty-three members – mainly the right-wing oppositionist New Era – voted against Pabriks on the basis that they refuse to work with the coalition. Pabriks will replace outgoing minister Rihards Piks, who left the ministry post to take up his seat in the European Parliament.
Pabriks, 38, graduated from the University of Latvia, faculty of history and philosophy, and holds a doctorate in political sciences at the University of Orhuus.