RIGA -- Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis has made a decision on who will be the country's new economics minister.
As widely predicted since the resignation of former minister Juris Strods almost a month ago, the new man at the ministry will be Einars Cilinskis, a member of the For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK nationalist alliance.
Since Strods stood down, Kalvitis has been performing the duties of economics minister as well as prime minister and by his own admission was finding the task extremely difficult.
"There are a lot of important issues to be solved. I cannot cover this area as a prime minister at present," Kalvitis said on Oct. 16, adding that he has been dividing his duties approximately "50/50" between both positions.
He also explained that it is difficult to work without an economics minister at present as he has several foreign visits scheduled and "the state cannot be left without a prime minister and economics minister."
When Cilinskis' name was first mentioned as a possible candidate some weeks ago, Kalvitis seemed less than enthusiastic about the prospect, but he has clearly warmed to the prospect.
Cilinskis said that the parliament could vote on his candidacy as soon as Oct. 18.
In a separate move, Kalvitis is scrapping the position of EU fund absorption minister, which means current incumbent Normunds Broks loses his job.
Broks told the Baltic News Service that he was informed on the elimination of the EU fund absorption minister position during a telephone conversation on Oct. 16 with no prior discussion. Ditching the ministry is likely to be the first act of a wide-ranging reorganisation of government that will come into effect next month.