President: new Health Minister must be capable

State President Egils Levits responded to the dismissal of Health Minister Ilze Viņķele January 5, issuing a statement in which he said her replacement needs to be someone "with vision and initiative".

"Constantly and carefully following the situation, I understand the decision of the Prime Minister and the justification to request the resignation of the Minister of Health," Levits said adding that "a person with vision and initiative" would be suitable for the job.

"The most urgent thing he has to do is to prepare a clear vaccination plan, which envisages the voluntary vaccination of the majority of the population in the shortest possible time, depending solely on the supply of vaccines, so that life returns to normal as soon as possible," said Levits, who was briefed by Viņķele on vaccination plans as recently as yesterday.

"I would like to remind you of what I said during yesterday's meeting with the [outgoing] Minister for Health that an adequate vaccination plan that is acceptable to the public must clearly show how many days from the day the vaccine is delivered, the quantity will be used to vaccinate people," added the President.

An account of that meeting is available on the Presidential website, but included no suggestion from Levits that the minister should step down.

Indeed, Levits urged Viņķele to make a public statement following Tuesday's cabinet meeting "to give the general public a better understanding of what the vaccination program intends to achieve." 

However, as things panned out, Viņķele's fate was sealed before that cabinet meeting took place.

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