RIGA 's Former Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks has handedin his membership card for the People's Party, sparking rumors that he may teamup with another recent ministerial departee, Aigars Stokenbergs, in theformation of a new political party.
Responding to the news, his long-time party colleague, Prime Minister AigarsKalvitis said he had made no attempt to persuade Pabriks to remain a member. "Itis impossible to persuade a person - they must decide themselves if they areready to assume the responsibility or not," he said.
Kalvitis explained Pabriks' decision by saying that it wastaken with regard to his own political ambition.
Pabriks was widely regarded as one of the most capable ministers of recenttimes, and enjoyed popularity abroad as well as respect at home. His decisionto leave the government was damaging enough, but his decision to leave theparty as well could have even more seriosu long-term implications andundermines the People's Party's credibility.
However, Kalvitis denied that the People's Party would now be unable torevive its popularity. "All parties in power experience a huge wave ofcriticism. Only after it is over, the clarity of what happened willensue," he underscored.
Pabriks announced of his decision after abstaining during a parliamentaryvote on the appointment of three new ministers.
Pabriks said that the People's Party asked him not to vote against nextyear's budget and the new ministers, which is why he abstained from both votes.
"As of this moment I consider my work in this party finished. I amleaving it," he said.