President: Latvian government must work as a team

The President of Latvia Egils Levits said on Latvian Television December 7 that to successfully overcome the COVID-19 crisis requires the government to act as a team.

He said it is up to the ministers to respect discipline, but the leader of the team, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, must take care of the work of the team and have the opportunity to demand resignation of ministers who act inappropriately.

Levits expressed hope that ministers would understand they were a team and, “starting tomorrow, when there is a government meeting, will respect it”.

If after a meeting there is a minister who tweets that their sector is not treated well enough, then it is a matter of lack of discipline and “if the Minister does not understand his role on this team, the Prime Minister should ask him to step aside”. He did not say whether there was a specific minister in mind, stating that he was talking about principles: “if a minister does not respect government discipline, then they have no place in that team” because they undermine not only the prestige and policies of the government, but in this context go against he national course.

Regarding government's decisions to limit COVID-19 spread, the President said that this was a step in the right direction, but it would have been better if such government action followed more quickly.

However, the style of government decision-making: setting rules and then changing them, is unsatisfactory, the President said.  This was also pointed out earlier in the day by former president Valdis Zatlers.

Levits said  that government discipline is important for people to know what the government wants to achieve, but the government must also explain what it decided, and there is another problem here: communication and the fact that decisions are changed in a short time and people cannot adapt to them.

The President hopes that the government will come together, work together and continue consistently.


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