Former politician in line for plum diplomatic posting

Take note – story published 5 years and 11 months ago

Former politician Solvita Āboltiņa is in line to occupy Latvia's diplomatic palazzo in Rome after her candidacy for the position of ambassador to Italy was supported by the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee, according to information available to Latvian Television (LTV).

Āboltiņa, who was expelled from the Vienotība (Unity) party after disastrous in-fighting saw the party's fortunes sent into freefall, returned to the Foreign Ministry in Rīga just five months ago and now seems to have secured a meteoric promotion to high diplomatic office.

Unity's board on November 6 decided to expel Āboltiņa from the party. She was regarded as a prime mover in the successful ousting of Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, the consequences of which the party has never overcome.

In November last year, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinķēvičs said Āboltiņa would not be sent overseas quickly, amid suspicions she would be handed a cushy position ahead of Foreign Ministry diplomats working their way up over a period of years.

Latvia's ambassador to Italy is also Non-resident Ambassador of Latvia to Malta, San Marino and Albania, guaranteeing plenty of sun-kissed diplomatic trips around the Mediterranean. The current ambassador is Artis Bertulis. who has been in place since 2013.

As reported, Āboltiņa tendered her resignation from parliament on January 9 this year. In February she was given a job at the Foreign Ministry's European Department.

Now her stunning rise through the ranks continues, though any appointment will need to be approved by President Raimonds Vējonis.

Āboltiņa is no stranger to controversy. She ran in the Kurzeme election district in the 12th Saeima elections and though not initially elected, a major scandal was caused when another MP resigned seconds after being sworn in, in order to hand his seat to her.

In another incident she famously cat-called a group of pensioners who were protesting Saeima about pensions and she came under further criticism for the way her motorcade careened around at high speed while she served as speaker of the Saeima, though this last incident is less likely to be a problem in Rome's famously con brio traffic system.

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