Crunch time for Kalvitis

  • 2007-10-22
  • In cooperation with BNS
RIGA -- Latvian prime minister Aigars Kalvitis faces a day of judgment on Tuesday, Oct. 23 in the form of a vote of no confidence in parliament.

The opposition New Era party has been calling for a no confidence motion, and it was originally due to take place on Thursday Oct. 25, a day after parliament is due to vote on next year's budget.

However, by collecting signatures from 37 members of parliament, opposition MPs have managed to have the confidence motion brought forward to 9 a.m on Tuesday.

Parliament's vice-speaker Karina Petersone told BNS that the ballot will beopen, because "it needs to be seen who is for and who is against."

New Era is urging MPs to "value the rule of law and national interestshigher than some political groups' wish to settle their political scorewith the head of an inconvenient institution" in their vote of noconfidence, in a clear reference to government attempts to remove anti-corruption chief Aleksejs Loskutovs from his post.

The ruling coalition has 58 votes in Latvia's 100-seat parliament. Theruling People's Party faction has 23 seats, their partners the Greens andFarmers Union (ZZS) has 18, Latvia's First/Latvia'sWay (LPP/LC) has ten, and the nationalist alliance For Fatherland andFreedom/LNNK (TB/LNNK) has seven seats. If all four parties stick together, Kalvitis will live to fight for his budget proposals the following day, but any significant number of abstentions or defections would be enough to undermine government claims to possess the national mandate.

Under such circumstances it is hard to see how Kalvitis could do anything other than immediately resign.

Opposition parties have 41 seats in the Saeima.