63 deputies voted for Puntulis, while 20 voted against.
Before voting for Puntulis, the Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš remarked that reforms are being made in several areas and that this should continue. However, in order to continue succesfully making reforms, a full composition of the Cabinet of Ministers is necessary. Kariņš opined that the new Minister for Culture will have to decide on the funding for the new concert hall. The minister will also be responsible for reinforcing the Latvian media, which is not a simple process.
Harmony expressed a negative opinion of Puntulis as Minister for Culture. Deupty Nikolajs Kabanovs said that Puntulis has proclaimed himself to be a supporter of “modern nationalism”. In Kabanovs view, these are archaic ideas, as has been evidence in the Balkans and Ukraine. Likewise, Harmony expressed a critical opinion on the levying of different tax rates on the press published in foreign languages. “Unfortunately, the Ministry of Culture has been existing under the eye of nationalist politics for many years,” said Kabanovs.
The post of Minister for Culture was vacated after Dace Melbārde (National Alliance) was elected to the European Parliament. To replace her, the National Alliance selected the opera singer and current member of the Riga City Council Puntulis.
Puntulis is a deputy of the Riga City Council and, having become the Minister for Culture, will most likely be replaced at the council by the scholar Jānis Atis Krūmiņš (National Alliance). He has confirmed to LETA his readiness to become a deputy of the Riga City Council.
Puntulis was once the singer of the “Perkons” rock band and became a singer at the Latvian National Opera in the 90's. From 1995 to 2000 he was the head of the singing department of the Latvian Academy of Music (LMA). The politician received his MA degree in singing and teaching from LMA.
He was elected for the second consecutive term to the Riga City Council, where he currently leads the Nation Alliance group.