Government restructuring on hold

  • 2009-02-13
  • From wire reports

The prime minister said the number of ministries in the country would not be reduced. (Photo courtesy of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia)

RIGA 's Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis has said that theruling coalition agreed to put plans to reduce the number of ministries andexpand the coalition on hold.

"We have agreed on the following -- we will notintroduce changes in the number of ministries today and now... We are notdiscussing expansion of the coalition and redistribution of functions among theexisting ministries," he prime minister told journalists on Feb. 13. 

The prime minister highlighted the importance of solving thecountry's economic problems, saying that the economy should take precedenceover political restructuring.

He also said that the plans should wait until after the local andEuropean Parliament elections are held this summer. 

"It is important for us to hold the municipal andEuropean Parliament elections in an undisturbed and organized way," saidGodmanis.

The coalition has agreed on restructuring of stateadministration institutions. The government next Tuesday will adopt a plan foraudit of functions and decide about restructuring of which agencies will bediscussed first. 

"The political situation will be the following that Ias the prime minister will ask the ministers responsible for their agencieswhose functions overlap to hold political discussions on that and then thegovernment can make decisions," the prime minister said.

The coalition on Friday discussed Godmanis' model forreorganization of the government by reducing the number of ministries fromcurrent 16 to 12 ministries.Ministries in the plan had been allocated to parties, and thus each coalitionparty would lose one minister. 

The ruling People's Party has voiced the most criticalattitude to Godmanis' plan. The Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS), and thenationalist alliance For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK (TB/LNNK) generallysupported the model, but objected to merging the Welfare, Health and FamilyAffairs Ministries in one.