Pregnant Health Minister sends solidarity message

Health Minister Anda Caksa sent a solidarity message to expecting middle-aged women as she revealed she's expecting a baby, to be born in January 2018.

“I want this to send a message that a [pregnant] woman can feel stable also in her forties,” the minister said.

She will continue in her post for as long as possible. “I have promised to work until the end and then I may take a leave for a while,” the Latvijas Avize newspaper quoted Caksa as saying in an interview.

The minister added that she had agreed with Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis (Greens/Farmers) that she will be working full-time as she feels just fine.

The newspaper comments that this is an unprecedented case in Latvia. A minister is expecting a child but there is no specific legislation regulating such situations. It is not clear, for instance, if the minister can take her maternity leave and then resume work in her previous capacity.

Under these circumstances, the prime minister has declined to answer questions about the imminent need to find at least a temporary replacement for the health minister.

However, in an interview with LNT commercial TV channel this morning Kucinskis said that the health minister’s pregnancy is a very pleasant news but that it obliges him to think about a solution to this situation.

“The bar has been raised quite high and I as prime minister need a professional and capable minister, not someone who will be standing in for some time. But I hope that Health Minister Anda Caksa will help me find such a person who would be able to do the job,” Kucinskis said.

Asked if Caksa’s replacement will be sought among members of the Union of Greens and Farmers, the prime minister said that to him professionalism and quality are the main criteria, because the ongoing reforms have to be completed, and this requires a person who knows the health system well.

Lawyer Janis Pleps believes that amendments might be necessary to the Cabinet of Ministers Rules of Procedure to provide a regulation for such situations. Pleps also believes that requiring an expecting minister to resign would be a bad signal to society.

Caksa was nominated for health minister by Union of Greens and Farmers.

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