Education Minister not to resign over song festival mess

Take note – story published 8 years and 11 months ago

After some 50 children fainted during the final rehearsals of the Song Youth and Dance Festival, Education Minister Mārīte Seile canceled a planned parade through Riga the following morning - and then allowed it again on a voluntary basis - receiving criticism for the way she handled the situation. Because of this, she pondered resigning, while politicians, including the President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis, tried to dissuade her. 

Today, after talks with Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, Seile announced that she won't be stepping down from the post after all.

A commission was created to evaluate the events of the final rehearsal, during which several dozens of children needed medical assistance, said PM Straujuma.

After convening with the Education Minister, Straujuma said that the management of the event didn't want the significant number of fainting children to overshadow the celebrations. They had "talked everything over" with Seile, and they "will continue working".

Before, Seile had said that she takes full responsibility for the critical situation. She said she had chosen, after talks with the PM, not to resign but rather continue working to prevent similar situations from repeating themselves.

Seile received harsh criticism from parents and opposition politicians for canceling the morning parade after children fainted during the rehearsal, despite the fact that she appeared to be erring on the side of caution where the health of minors was concerned - which many would argue is surely better than the alternative.

The coalition said that she should make the decision about resigning on her own, while the opposition party Latvia From the Heart ("No sirds Latvijai") asked her to resign.

The minister was supported by the labor union as well.

"The minister shouldn't resign when facing problems but rather solve them with the team. In the last four years, six Education Ministers have been in and out of office," said the Twitter account of the Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees.

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