RIGA - Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (For Development/For) has no intention of standing in for the health minister and believes that Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) is the one who should become acting health minister.
Pabriks told LETA that Karins' no-confidence motion in Health Minister Ilze Vinkele (For Development/For) was a double surprise. First, Pabriks is surprised that Karins has demanded Vinkele's resignation so suddenly, without informing the coalition partners. Second, Karins has announced that Pabriks will have to stand in for Vinkele - without even consulting Pabriks.
"I will not be an acting health minister. I believe that I have a duty to turn down the offer, regardless of competences and good order at the Defense Ministry. Likewise, taking into consideration that the coalition is made up of five parties and coordinating matters is always difficult, I have no mechanisms for efficient implementation of health care policies that I, as well as the prime minister, would like to implement," said Pabriks.
He believes that, under the circumstances, Karins himself should become an acting health minister, so he could better coordinate different processes.
"It is in the interest of the state and public health that we don't rock the boat, and that the prime minister himself takes this role of a coordinator until all the misunderstandings are resolved," said Pabriks.
When asked whether For Development/For will remain a coalition party if Vinkele steps down, Pabriks said he had no comment, reiterating that Karins' decision was a big surprise. "At any rate, we will approach this crisis situation very responsibly. I believe it was a wrong move to rock the government like this without even warning anyone."