National Alliance asks PM to reconsider Economics Minister's resignation

The National Alliance has asked Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš to reconsider the request for the resignation of its Minister of Economics Jānis Vitenbergs, said Speaker of the Saeima Ināra Mūrniece (NA) on Tuesday, May 18, on Latvian Television.

Although Vitenbergs has expressed his readiness to leave, the National Alliance is in favor of Vitenbergs' stay in the post.

Mūrniece said that in the meetings of the board of NA, Vitenbergs said he would be happy to continue in the job. "He [Vitenbergs] also understands the situation [in the government]. He is not going to resign himself, because he doesn't see grounds for it," added Mūrniece.

Accordingly, NA calls on the Prime Minister to “reconsider this situation”.

“So [the situation in government] is certainly not a crisis, these are disagreements. The pre-election time means that these disagreements are likely to be more apparent, but I think that the stability of the government will not be affected by them," said Mūrniece, stressing that it is not the aim of NA to overthrow the government.

Also on Wednesday morning, the National Alliance repeated the call on the Prime Minister to reconsider the decision and to abandon his intention to ask for Vitenbergs' resignation. 

At a joint press conference of President Egils Levits and Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš on Wednesday, Levits reiterated that despite the recent events, the 'government is stable and will work until the election'.

Kariņš said that the issues of internal politics 'hamper the work with bigger challenges'. 

"I have clearly asked two partners to appoint and direct two new ministers, Interior and Economics minister. I hope the partners will do it so the government can continue work in a new composition [..] and overcome this small crisis, or as the President put it, turbulence."

Last week the National Alliance issued an ultimatum to Kariņš demanding the resignation of Interior Minister Marija Golubeva (Development/For!). Failure to comply would result in it walking away from the government, it said. Kariņš bowed to the pressure but threw the ball back into the NA's court by saying one of its ministers would also have to go, for causing instability in government.

While Golubeva has resigned, Vitenbergs has not. He seemed likely to be the next to depart as he only joined NA a year ago after previously representing the now-defunct KPV LV in the post. After a brief return to Saeima, he was soon back at the Ministry representing his new party. 

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