Party tried to topple government - transport minister

  • 2007-08-14
  • By Mike Collier
RIGA - Transport Minister Ainars Slesers claims the opposition New Era party has been trying to woo his own Latvia's First Party in an effort to topple the current government.

Speaking to the Neatkariga Rita Avize newspaper, Slesers said: "New Era proposed to us that we topple Kalvitis' government. They offered the bloc of LPP and Latvia's Way parties plus the post of prime minister, but we have agreed to [continue to] work in this coalition. We rejected their proposal. We are satisfied with Kalvitis as prime minister."

Despite apparently standing shoulder to shoulder with Kalvitis, Slesers' revelation may serve as something of a warning shot across the government's bows, showing that he effectively holds the balance of power and that even though his party may not be the largest member of the ruling coalition, it must be given serious consideration by the current administration.

As if to confirm this, Slesers refused to rule out that some current ministers in the existing government might be replaced.

"We have no plans to make any changes in the government. Maybe some ministers might be replaced, but the coalition should not be changed. Setting up a new coalition would lead to instability," the minister noted.

Until recently a pact between Latvia's First Party and New Era would have been unthinkable, for reasons of personal enmity between senior figures as much as for ideological reasons. The mere fact that Slesers has chosen to go public with proof of his loyalty to the government should give Kalvitis and company cause for concern.

With Slesers a central player in the debate about the future of the Latvian post office, a reminder of the importance of his contribution may also help direct policy towards his preferred solution of a privatised system incorporating a banking service.