Speaking on LTV's 'Today's Question' show, Mieriņa admitted that if her words about Lembergs a year ago had appeared before the Saeima speaker elections rather than after them, "anything could have happened, because society is critical of such things".
The front-runner in the race to become Saeima speaker, Gunārs Kūtris (ZZS) was not elected as speaker of the Saeima precisely because of his statements interpreted as being soft on Lembergs. When his candidacy floundered as a result, the little-known Mieriņa was announced as a last-minute alternative and voted in, despite demands by opposition deputies that they should be given more time to check her track record and views.
She rejected the claim that it was a deliberate strategy to field another candidate to avoid questions from opponents and the media.
"Events developed so quickly, it just happened that we had to figure out who could be nominated. Colleagues decided that it could be me," said Mieriņa. "Everyone agreed on that right there, in the hall."
ZZS maintains its close relationship with Lembergs' 'For Latvia and Ventspils' party while at the same time arguing that Lembergs does not wield influence.
Mieriņa emphasized that the statements in question were made in the pre-election atmosphere, when everyone was fighting for entry into the parliament:
"We positioned ourselves as owners of our land, people want someone to take care of them. That was our pre-election rhetoric," she told LTV.
Asked about ZZS' reaction if Lembergs' appeal against his jail term fails, Mieriņa said: "There will definitely be a discussion in the faction about what to do next. I will not be the only one to decide it. The party 'For Latvia and Ventspils' will probably also decide what to do next," said Mieriņa.
When asked what she really thinks about Aivars Lembergs, Mieriņa declined to state a clear position for the record: "I have nothing more to add. Everything has already been said in one way or another. I get asked this question a lot, I have already played through it from all angles. Honestly, I have nothing more to add," she said.