Latvia’s Prime Minister to Step Down

The Associated Press
November 7, 2007

RIGA, Latvia — Latvia’s Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said Wednesday that he would step down on Dec. 5 and that the four-party ruling coalition would immediately begin searching for a new head of government, his spokesman said.

The decision follows weeks of intense pressure on Kalvitis, Latvia’s longest serving prime minister since independence in 1991, from both the electorate and President Valdis Zatlers.

Kalvitis’ spokesman, Arno Pjatkins, said that it was not clear who would become the next prime minister or whether the current four-party coalition would remain in power.

He did, however, quote Kalvitis as saying that opposition parties would be consulted since the next government “would need as many fresh ideas as possible.”

The current center-right Cabinet has ruled since winning the October 2006 parliamentary election, but has seen its popularity plummet because of rising inflation and a recent decision to fire a popular anti-corruption chief.

Earlier Wednesday, Zatlers said that the government should resign since it had lost the people’s trust, Latvian media reported.