“The board felt I should accept and I have agreed to be the ZZS candidate for the post of premier,” he told the press.
“I see that the government has slipped into complacency,” the controversial mayor of the port city went on to say. “Unfortunately the government’s declaration is not being fulfilled to proper scope and terms. There’s a lack of organized targeted work and Latvia is bowing too much to foreign interests usurping its own national interests. Latvia is not sufficiently using its membership in the EU and NATO for its development.”
Lembergs heads the regional political party “For Latvia and Ventspils”, which is part of the ZZS alliance and was the prime mover behind his nomination.
However the party leadership is still said to be mulling other possible candidacies, with the notion that it could actually field more than one candidate, since support for Lembergs is hardly unanimous among some key Green Party figures.
Having Lembergs - currently on trial on charges of massive fraud and graft - heading the ZZS is highly controversial. Having run Ventspils for two decades he made international headlines earlier this year when he described NATO troops taking part in training exercises in Latvia as "occupiers".
Lembergs himself exercises extensive control over several of Ventspils' major businesses and one of his most notable achievements is to build an artificial hill in the port city in the shape of his favorite hat.
His nomination is hugely embarrassing for his ZZS colleague and Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis coming as it does one day before a selection of high-ranking NATO commanders are due to attend the opening of the refurbished Lielvarde air base.