ZZS plans to continue cooperation with Lembergs

The Union of Greens and Farmers will not refuse cooperation with Aivars Lembergs, head of "For Latvia and Ventspils" party, after a prison sentence in the second court instance. The party says the court's verdict has not yet entered into force and can be appealed, Latvian Television reported September 27.

Saeima deputies of the Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS) do not plan to change their attitude towards the representative of the cooperation party For Latvia and Ventspils and former Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs, who was sentenced to four years in prison and confiscation of property on Wednesday.

“Our attitude hasn't changed. In a legal state, the process must be complete. We have waited so long, let us wait for the process to conclude in the third instance,“ said Harijs Rokpelnis, chairman of the Saeima faction of the ZZS.

Saeima faction deputy Andrejs Vilks also emphasized that this is only a second-instance judgment. “The next instance remains. The verdict has not come into effect and his [Lembergs'] guilt has not yet been fully proven,“ Vilks said.

Prime Minister Evika Siliņa (New Unity), on the other hand, said that the government she led is firmly distancing itself from persons on the sanctions list and nothing changes regarding Lembergs, such persons have no place at the coalition table.

“I trust the ZZS to know for themselves how they see their work in the future with regard to the convicted, sanctioned person. But in any event, it is important to me that our coalition has no negative impact coming from sanctioned or convicted individuals [..],” Siliņa told Latvian Radio.

On the other hand, Finance Minister Arvils Ašeradens (New Unity) said in the Latvian Television program “Today's Question” Wednesday evening that “there are some surprises – the punishment [for Lembergs] has been reduced” [the first instance had applied a sentence of five years instead of four], but in the coalition “the lines are clearly drawn” and there are no changes to the coalition's work at this time.

“The coalition is continuing to work, I don't see any changes needed,” said Ašeradens.

Meanwhile, two days before the ruling handed down by the Riga Regional Court, Saeima Chairperson Daiga Mieriņa (ZZS) told LTV that after the second instance judgment is known, the attitude towards Lembergs will be assessed in the ZZS faction.

A press spokeswoman for Mieriņa reaffirmed Wednesday that the Speaker of the Saeima will ask the faction to consider the matter.


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