United List deputy quits party to keep position at Interior Ministry

Saeima deputy Igors Rajevs, who was elected to the 14th Saeima last year from the United List (AS) political alliance, will quit the party, becoming an independent member of parliament, and will continue to work as the parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, the LETA news agency reported September 25.

Rajevs had been in his position at the Interior Ministry under his party colleague Māris Kučinskis and will continue under the new minister, Rihards Kozlovskis of the New Unity party.

"The previous minister had good reviews for his work and professional approach, so I am pleased that Mr. Rajevs has agreed to continue this work," said Kozlovskis.

Rajevs approval for the position of Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs will be issued on Tuesday, September 26, subject to him leaving the United List's Saeima faction. In the process, the United List's representation in parliament will fall from 15 to 14 members.

Commenting on his defection, Rajevs said that recently he had found himself in the minority too often, saying "How long can you be in the minority in your opinion?" so it was necessary to react in some way.

"If you are always in the minority, then you remain a destructive element for the [party] as such," Rajevs reasoned.

However, his status as an independent MP does not mean that Rajevs will now automatically support the coalition in all votes, he noted.

"Never say never. I'll see how it all turns out. In any case, I'll vote as I see fit. I don't particularly like the methods of the coalition," Rajevs said.

At present the new three-party coalition of New Unity, the Progressives and the Green and Farmers Union (ZZS)  directly controls 52 votes out of 100 seats in Saeima. In addition ZZS has a cooperation agreement with independent deputy Oļegs Burovs, bringing the total to 53. With Rajevs' backing that number would rise to 54.

"I am ready to continue what has been started in order to create an effective crisis management system in Latvia, and we will also have to work intensively so that the strengthening of Latvia's eastern border takes place within the planned deadlines," said Rajevs, who will continue to lead the Civil Defense Working Group at the Ministry.

"I have committed to invest time and work so that there are no delays in border construction, I will continue to work with internal affairs issues in the Saeima, both in the Defense, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee, and in the Citizenship, Migration and Social Cohesion Committee," said Rajevs.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the United List Saeima faction, Edgars Tavars, in an interview on LTV's Morning Panorama program September 26, denied that other members of the faction could also quit. "I have confidence in the other colleagues of the United List faction," said Tavars.

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