New Era steps out of coalition

  • 2006-04-07
  • By TBT staff
After days of suspense, Prime Minister Kalvitis has made his decision. On April 6, the PM rejected New Era's demand that he declare his alliances and choose between New Era and Latvia's Fist Party to keep within the coalition. As a result, all six New Era Cabinet ministers submitted their resignation this morning, as they had promised.

The prime minister received resignation letters from Justice Minister Solvita Aboltina, Society Integration Minister Ainars Latkovskis, Economics Minister Krisjanis Karins, Defense Minister Linda Murniece, E-Government Minister Janis Reirs and Education and Science Minister Ina Druviete.
After the April 3 meeting, in which Kalvitis announced his decision, New Era leader Einars Repse said that, in dismissing the party's demand and choosing to work as a minority government, the PM and his government acted illogically.
"All responsibility lies with Kalvitis," Repse said.
Meanwhile, each minister explained his or her reason for stepping down in the resignation letter.
"Since the moment of its foundation, the activities of Latvia's First Party have looked more like [party leader] Ainars Slesers' "business project." They have caused serious suspicions of political corruption and clear indifference to the interests of the state and the people," Aboltina stated in her letter.
"The style of Latvia's First is characterized by its direct involvement in vote-buying during the mayoral elections in Jurmala, as well as recruiting five lawmakers from the [opposition] five-party alliance For Human Rights in United Latvia," the justice minister continued. "I believe a party that follows such principles threatens and discredits the basic foundations of democracy and a law-governed state, and undermines the public's confidence in the government."
"In view of the above concerns and the fact that you, as prime minister, have failed to make a responsible decision and have allowed such a party to continue working in the government, I find it impossible remain in your government," she concluded.
Repse added that the prime minister would have to explain his choice himself.
Shortly after the meeting, Kalvitis said he regretted that New Era had hidden its "unwillingness to work and answer for its decisions" behind ultimatums.
He expressed disappointment over New Era's decision and said he did not understand "how they can refuse to work for the state, especially this year, when there are so many important tasks to tackle and decisions to make."
"Today, these parties work and sit at the same table on the Riga City Council. So, where is their consistency?" Kalvitis asked rhetorically.
On April 3, New Era demanded that Kalvitis, who represents the People's Party, choose which party to keep in the coalition government -- New Era or Latvia's First Party. The move came after Kalvitis opened an economic-crimes investigation against party leader and Economy Minister Krisjanis Karins, which outraged his fellow party members.
Karins is allegedly responsible for the Economy Ministry's illegal distribution of EU structural funds and filing of documents, which falls under New Era's area of duty.