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Clouds gather over Health Minister Belēvičs

The ruling coalition party Unity is becoming impatient with Health Minister Guntis Belēvičs (Greens and Farmers Union). After being denied access to to top-level secrets by the state security services, he told Latvian Television Friday that he isn't worried about it as access isn't necessary for the head of the Health Ministry.

Belēvičs went on to explain that, while working on a few matters, he received warnings that he will be denied access if he doesn't stop interfering with what can be presumed to be Big Business in healthcare.

Before, the Constitution Protection Bureau had given him a 7-month clearance to access top-level state secrets.

Meanwhile, the Unity party is becoming impatient with Belēvičs as he had previously suggested various misguided or poorly communicated suggestions for the healthcare industry and as probes by the authorities into his activities suggest possible administrative offences. Despite this, Belēvičs probably won't lose his post in the foreseeable future.  

This year Belēvičs has come under the watch of the Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB) and the State Revenue Service (the latter questioned his 'one million memory lapse')  five times already. Due to these probes, Belēvičs, who is also an MP, is considering to put down his mandate to make KNAB's job easier as MPs enjoy criminal and administrative immunity.

While his own party, the Greens and Farmers Union, has no objections to his work, while Unity is rather unsatisfied with the recent events.

Solvita Aboltina, the head of Unity, said that her party is perplexed and unsatisfied with the minister's work, while MP Ilze Viņķele said that she doesn't recall any other minister who has caused so much chaotic tumult in his field. Besides, the Health Ministry doesn't have a work plan for 2015, and the minister is directly responsible for the fact. Unity is planning to listen to Belēvičs explain himself in November.

While next week Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma is set to talk with Belēvičs about the recent events in healthcare.

On the other hand, leader of the National Alliance party Raivis Dzintars told LETA that the influx of negative information about the minister is leading to think of a coordinated campaign against Belēvičs. Dzintars doesn't see a reason why Belēvičs couldn't continue to fulfill the duties of a minister. Belēvičs himself voiced concerns earlier this week that it's possible he's being persecuted for political reasons.

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