President critical of Saeima rejecting anti-graft chief

The Saeima had the right to reject the re-appointment of Ilze Znotiņa as Chief of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FID), but this was neither a wise decision nor a good signal, President Egils Levits said in an interview on Latvian Television on June 17.

Although Znotiņa had won a selection contest for the title of head of the FID and was also supported by the government, the Saeima lacked the votes for her approval in the post, which she had taken since 2018.

“Of course, the Saeima is free to approve or not approve any candidacy. It is also in the Constitution, it is the right of the Saeima. But another question is whether it is right or wrong," the president said.

He said that the rejection of the candidates selected in the contest must have very good arguments, but this time there were not. In his opinion, the non-approval of Znomes is neither a good signal nor a wise decision.

“As with the rejection of Mrs. Osipova, the Saeima has the freedom to act, but it has to be considered how to act correctly. And in this case, it was not thought out,” the president said.

Levits pointed to Znotiņa's very good reputation internationally and investment in oversight problems in the financial sector. “The external political aspect is even more important because of course, Mrs. Znotiņa has a very good reputation among the relevant services of other countries,” the president said.

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