Economics minister Ašeradens will stay on for a while

Economics Minister Arvils Ašeradens, who announced last week he is stepping down from his position in an attempt to revive the fortunes of his Vienotiba (Unity) political party, will in fact stay on for a while -- probably until the end of November. 

Following talks with Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis October 16, Ašeradens said he was willing to stay on until the 2018 budget had been passed (though this is prepared by the Finance Ministry, not the Economics Ministry) before quitting his portfolio.

As previously reported, Aseradens has decided to resign to in order to take the job of Unity Saeima group's chairman after the current group chairwoman Solvita Aboltina vacates the post in expectation of having a ready-made job waiting for her at the Foreign Ministry.

Ašeradens said that he would step down as the economics minister after Saeima passes the 2018 state budget, that is, at the end of November.

Saeima is planning to review the 2018 state budget on November 22 and 23.

Ašeradens also said that Saeima could vote on his successor on November 16.

According to unconfirmed information obtained by the LETA newswire, the candidates Unity is considering for Latvia’s next economics minister include Riga City Council member Vilnis Kirsis, Foreign Ministry parliamentary secretary Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica and Welfare Ministry parliamentary secretary Karina Ploka.

Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis hsa said that he will not sign Aseradens' resignation until Unity nominates the next economics minister.

Speaking October 17 on the Delfi news portal, Kucinskis also suggested now was not a good time for a change, describing the situation within the ruling three-party coalition as "complicated" and saying that issues such as a possible major merger in the telecoms sector and the opening up of Baltic energy markets required an active Economics Minister.

"He is the responsible minister, it's not click your fingers and do this or that straight away," the Prime Minister said.

"I very much know who I want and who I don't want, but I'm not ready to name a name," he added.

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