MP tied to vote buying leaves Unity but remains in faction

MP Dzintars Zakis, a long-standing member of the ruling Unity party, has decided to quit the party but will keep his lawmaker’s mandate.

Zaķis confirmed to BNS that he had informed the Unity board about his decision on Thursday.

"I am doing this in order to serve my voters in the [eastern Latvian] region of Latgale better and without any scheming,” he said, adding that the Unity had been mired in stagnation for quite a while.

„The party lacks passionate leaders and political initiative,” Zaķis said. Different groups within the party are only squabbling among themselves instead of thinking about the national interests, he said.

Zaķis is not the only one to perform such maneuvers. MP Veiko Spolītis has acted similarly.

Spolītis served a jail sentence for drunk driving and left Unity without laying down his mandate or leaving the party's parliamentary group. 

The Unity board planned to discuss Zaķis’ expulsion from the party on November 2 in view of the vote-buying scandal in the last general elections in fall 2014. 

Three incidents in which the accused had allegedly offered money to people in Latgale to vote for Zakis in the elections are being investigated.

On October 6 a man was sentenced to 100 hours community service as he confirmed he had bought three votes for Zaķis. 

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