"I must say thank you to society, to voters for the chance to fulfil this position during these years. I must [also] say thank you to three Presidents for the chance to cooperate: Mr. Vējonis, Mr. Levits and now Mr. Rinkēvičs." Kariņs told journalists after their meeting, adding thanks to all ministers who had served in his two administrations, Saeima deputies and his friends and family for supporting him.
Kariņš repeated his reasoning for resigning, saying that he had hoped to form a broader coalition with more "dynamism" than the one he formed less than a year ago, but that his current coalition partners were resistant to the change.
He also expressed support for New Unity's declared candidate to be the next prime minister, Evika Siliņa, saying she would be able to lead a "strong government, strong coalition". As to his future plans he was not specific but said: "I have been been elected as a Saeima deputy, I don't intend to leave politics."
In response, President Rinkēvičs thanked Kariņs for his work over the last four and half years, and said he was publishing a list of six criteria that he wants the next government to meet, before launching face-to-face meetings with parties represented in Saeima early next week.
The public were looking for the government to quickly address pressing issues such as rapidly rising energy bills, interest rates on loans, inflation and food prices, Rinkēvičs said, while he also expected any potential government to have credible longer-term plans for healthcare, education and external security.
"In talking with party representatives I will request political forces to offer their visions to meet these targets," Rinkēvičs said. "The next government can and must have a basis for achieving these goals."
The President also suggested he would have no trouble remaining objective in talks with parties despite his previous longstanding ties to New Unity. "My experience is often that it can be the case that it's one thing that politicians and parties say in public and another thing that they say behind closed doors. That's why at the moment I am asking for broad Saeima support [for the next government]," he said.