THE COMMON GOOD: Andris Berzins expects a lot from the new government.
RIGA - It is very important that professionals work in government and that government members are united for the common good, President Andris Berzins says in an interview with the daily Latvijas Avize. Berzins goes on to say that he believes it is important to explain why he preferred the coalition model proposed by Unity, Zatlers Reform Party and national alliance All for Latvia!-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK.
“December 22 is the date by which the loan program must be completed. There is no time to lose. The loan program is too expensive to play games with. Only professional government members can successfully lead the program to conclusion,” said Berzins.
The president reveals that, during his meeting with the three parties’ representatives at the Riga Castle, he hoped that Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) would be given the right to pick professional ministers for his government. “This model had been previously supported by Harmony Center representatives; it was also supported by the Union of Greens and Farmers. At the meeting, though, the three coalition members rejected inviting the nonpartisan MP Janis Duklavs [to head the Agriculture Ministry], and then this other option was proposed. The national alliance’s leader Raivis Dzintars was ready to discuss it, but ZRP leader Valdis Zatlers apparently did not want to talk about it. Nevertheless, I left them alone for fifteen minutes to talk it out. When I returned, Dombrovskis said that no agreement could be reached. I understood that Zatlers was the one who objected,” said Berzins.
He adds that he finds it hard to understand why so, because this solution did not envisage offering Harmony Center or the Union of Greens and Farmers to join the government; it was about support for the opportunity given to Dombrovskis. According to this solution, Dombrovskis would choose candidates for ministers, regardless of whether they are or are not members of any political parties, and then offer the five Saeima parties to vote on his government. “I thought that it was the best possible solution in the given circumstances,” said Berzins.
Berzins also said that Harmony Center’s supporters should urge their own MPs to act, instead of sending letters to the president and calling him to take action so that the party would be included in the next government. “I tell Harmony Center supporters: please, stir up your deputies. Why do you send your letters to me? Harmony Center leader Nils Usakovs’ team should have been more active, but everything vanished into thin air after its brief activity with Zatlers Reform Party. Harmony Center leaders could have come up with a proposal that would have majority support in Saeima, but they did not. PM candidate Valdis Dombrovskis’ (Unity) team at least has 50 MPs plus six independent deputies,” Berzins said.
The president explained that, during his meeting with Usakovs, Harmony Center was not ready to take responsibility for forming a new government; they were only prepared to become part of government. “Thus, my choice is logical. I contacted all sides, assessed the situation and nominated Dombrovskis,” said Berzins.
Saeima was to vote on the new Cabinet on Tuesday.
If Dombrovskis’ government is supported by the Parliament, Unity will have the prime minister’s and Saeima speaker’s posts as well as the Finance Ministry, the Welfare Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the Health Ministry, and the Agriculture Ministry. ZRP will lead the Education and Science Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Economy Ministry and the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry. VL-TB/LNNK would get the Culture Ministry, the Justice Ministry, as well as several posts outside the government.
Unity and the six independent parliament deputies will also assume joint responsibility for the Transport Ministry. Non-partisan Aivis Ronis will be the coalition’s candidate for transport minister.