Another minister quits

  • 2007-11-01
  • By Mike Collier

RIGA 's Will the last person to leave the Latvian government please turn the lights out?

Another minister has quit the government of Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis, bringing the running total of vacancies to four.

Minister of Welfare Dagnija Stake, a member of the Greens and Farmers Union announced her resignation Oct. 31. She follows Economy Minister Jurijs Strods, Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks (both resigned) and Regional Development Minsiter Aigars Stokenbergs (sacked).

Stake handed in her resignation to acting Prime Minister Oskars Spurdzins while Kalvitis was on the other side of the Atlantic on an official visit to the U.S.

"I can honestly admit that I have not managed to ensure that pensions be raised as much as the Saeima Social and Employment Matters Committee asked, because it would mean revising financing for other sectors that the Welfare Ministry is responsible for, including the disabled, unemployed, young parents," Stake explained in a press statement.

Stake has been placed in a difficult situation by the government's budget proposals, which attempt to reign in public spending. The Welfare Ministry would inevitably be among the first to suffer budget cuts, and Stake's departure is clearly designed to distance herself from the effects of such cutbacks. The budget is due for its second reading on Nov. 8.

"The situation with the budget, especially in the welfare sector, is controversial. Therefore I have to accept moral responsibility [regarding] how funds will be distributed in the welfare sector. Therefore, in my opinion, to resign is the only solution," Stake stressed.