Coalition wants more time to discuss Prosecutor General's position

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Several ruling coalition politicians on May 20 avoided expressing a concrete position on Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns' (New Conservative Party) suggestion to assess Prosecutor General Eriks Kalnmeiers' suitability for the post; the coalition is planning to return to the issue after a week, on May 27.

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) told reporters after the coalition's weekly meeting that not all coalition members had acquainted themselves with Bordān's reasons, and discussions about the proposal would resume in a week.

Kariņš refrained from further comments, saying that "it is very important to separate the executive from the judiciary". He explained that he was in charge of both the coalition and the government, but the coalition meetings were also attended by members of Saeima.

Meanwhile, Bordāns said that he was working to "improve the rule of law in Latvia". He admitted that his colleagues were cautious about such matters and wanted to familiarize themselves with his arguments. At the same time, coalition partners did not express support for Kalnmeiers as a successful prosecutor, the minister pointed out.

For Development/For co-chairman Daniels Pavluts stressed that the judiciary was independent, but if the justice minister expresses no confidence in the prosecutor general, that is a very serious issue. For Development/For also sees shortcomings in the prosecutor office's work, said Pavluts. For Development/For will take a close look at Bordāns' reasoning and then decide further action. The coalition plans to return to the issue after a week, said Pavluts.

National Alliance's Chairman Raivis Dzintars said that the partners did not discuss whether they liked or disliked Kalnmeiers' performance, the meeting focused on what would be the correct procedure to follow. Dzintars repeatedly said that the prosecutor's office was investigating possible criminal offenses of Juris Jurass, a New Conservative member of parliament, and parliamentary secretary at the Justice Ministry. "It all makes the discussions more complicated," said Dzintars.

Atis Zakatistovs, head of the KPV LV Saeima group, hinted at criminal proceedings launched against him by the prosecutor's office and said that he could not offer an unbiased comment. "If there was a Me Too movement in Latvia to unite persons who have been wronged by the authorities, I would gladly become a member," he said.

As reported, Bordāns' Justice Ministry believes Kalnmeiers' work is not up to scratch.

On the other hand, Kalnmeiers is not surprised about the attempt to dismiss him from his position. Kalnmeiers said last week that the New Conservative Party represented by Bordāns has been blaming him for “all the world’s sins” and “They are just doing what they have planned. I am not the first or the last one,” said Kalnmeiers.

According to the law, Saeima may dismiss the prosecutor general from office, if a justice of the Supreme Court specially authorized by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in carrying out an investigation, has determined any of the bases for removal referred to in the law and an opinion regarding this has been provided by a Plenary Session of the Supreme Court.

The investigation is launched at the initiative of the Supreme Court chairman or one third of Saeima lawmakers.

Supreme Court chairman Ivars Bickovics does not see any grounds to start assessing Kalnmeiers’ suitability for his position, LETA was told at the Supreme Court.

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