Rebellion sees Kaimiņš relieved of party's Saeima role

Saeima deputy Artuss Kaimiņš was removed from a leading position in the party he founded and which has in great part relied upon the former actor's own charismatic way of going about political business, it was announced May 2.

Kaimiņš founded KPV LV (the name originally stood for Kam pieder valsts? or Who owns the state?) in 2016  after quitting the Latvia's Regional Alliance party with which he was originally elected to Saeima.

Parliamentary faction chairman Atis Zakatistovs - himself currently the subject of controversy and a fraud investigation - made the announcement that Kaimiņš would no longer have the role of deputy chairman of the faction. 

"This is not a personal issue, we decide as a faction," said Zakatistovs, who will likely soon face a parliamentary vote on whether to lift his immunity from prosecution.

The move was approved by 7 out of 11 KPV LV deputies present at a party meeting (KPV LV has 15 Saeima mandates in total). Kaimiņš himself did not attend the meeting. He was not expelled from the faction completely, he merely had his position of responsibility stripped.

On May 3, KPV LV member Kaspars Girgens said the move against Kaimiņš was as a result of his inability to align his personal opinions with party policy.

"This vote reflected what the party's opinion is. We have a group, we are a team, and it is the duty of a member of the faction to express the opinion of the faction by separating the personal [from the party line]," said Girgens.

Yet that explanation seems hollow given the wide divergences of opinion within the party more generally. Though now in the five-party government coalition, ever since performing very well in Saeima elections last October, KPV LV has been riven by internal disputes. Another prominent figure, Aldis Gobzems, has been booted out of the party altogether and several other Saeima deputies sympathetic to him have refused to fall in line behind coalition policy, even going so far as as to back an opposition vote of no confidence in the prime minister.

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