Loskutovs left in limbo

  • 2007-11-02
  • By Mike Collier

WHICH WAY NOW? Loskutovs will have to keep looking over his shoulder for a while yet (Photo: LETA)

RIGA 's- Aleksejs Loskutovs, the KNAB anti-corruption chief who has been at the center of political debate in Latvia in recent months finds himself left in bureaucratic limbo after the government backtracked on its decision seek his dismissal.

While Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis was being told by Condoleeza Rice about the need to crack down on corruption during a visit to the U.S. on Oct. 31, acting PM and full-time Finance Minister Oskars Spurdzins recalled the government's earlier decision to refer the matter for a crunch parliamentary vote.

Spurdzins' move came after a Parliamentary Legal Committee heard the opinions of Chief State Auditor Inguna Sudraba and Prosecutor General Janis Maizitis, both of whom have spoken out against efforts to unseat Loskutovs.

The decision was based on "considerations of expendiency and taking into account the Legal Committee's view," according to Kalvitis' legal advisor, Janis Dzanuskans.

So Loskutovs remains in a curious position, suspended but not dismissed and with no clear idea of when his future is likely to be decided now that the crucial vote has been cancelled.

Possibly the government believes that keeping the case on the back burner until it has dealt with its other pressing issue 's next year's budget 's will buy it time while it looks for a viable exit strategy.

It is even possible that if and when the coalition government succeeds in pushing its budget through its second reading on Nov. 8, it will resign. If subsequent elections went against the current executive, they would no longer have to deal with "the Loskutovs affair". If the administration won another mandate, it could either take up its cudgels against Loskutovs again or adopt a "let bygones be bygones" approach and pretend the whole thing never happened.