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Ašeradens will remain as economy minister, but Āboltiņa will be expelled from Unity

Arvils Ašeradens/flickr.com/Saeima.
Unity’s board chairman Arvils Ašeradens will remain as Latvia’s Economy Minister, as decided by the party’s board.

Ašeradens will not lead Unity’s Saeima faction, however. This task will be entrusted to Hosams Abu Meri. This was the recommendation given to Saeima’s faction. A final decision on this will be made soon.

On Monday, 6 November, the board decided to expel once the party’s leader and current head of Unity’s Saeima faction Solvita Āboltiņa for discrediting the search process for the new economy minister.

Unity chairman Arvils Ašeradens told journalists after the meeting that the party had discussed events in relation to the replacement of the country’s economy minister. Āboltiņa had acted opposite to the decision made by the party’s board about the search for a minister candidate and commenting on the situation.

Ašeradens emphasized that it was the prerogative of the party’s board to propose and coordinate candidates. This decision was breached by Āboltiņa. She is not the only person to blame. However, she did criticize candidates and comment on the process.

Āboltiņa had planned to step down before the end of the year. The decision remains in her hands, says Ašeradens. The process progressed opposite to the agreement, which came especially painful because Ābotliņa’s positions were defended at the last congress, said the party’s leader. He says he has seen the same opposition and intrigue process as before.

He says he has no plans to leave his post in the government. Instead he will serve his whole term as economy minister. When asked about duties in the party in relation to preparations for the upcoming elections, Ašeradens said it is necessary to search for solutions with his tasks – delegate more work to the parliamentary secretary of Economy Ministry and free up more time for politics for himself.

Ašeradens also says that the change of the head of the party’s Saeima faction will help stabilize its work. He refrained from commenting on the question as to whether or not the party may divide after Āboltiņa’s expulsion.

Previously, Ašeradens had planned to step down as economy minister to lead Unity’s Saeima faction and work in the parliament.

Ašeradens’ decision to leave his post as economy minister was announced 11 October. Initially it was intended to perform the switch quickly, but Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis believed Ašeradens should leave the government before the approval of the 2018 budget in the Saeima – the end of November. Unity’s board later decided that a new economy minister would have to be approved sooner – around 16 November.

Unity’s politician avoided commenting on potential candidates. Unofficial information stated that among the candidates were Vilnis Ķirsis, Karina Ploka and Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica.

Last week, multiple deputies of Unity’s Saeima faction who are not members of the party officially asked the board of the party to consider Jānis Lāčplēsis, former head of Daugavpils City Council, for the post of economy minister.

The Union of Greens and Farmers wanted to keep Ašeradens in the government, however.


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