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14 Aug, 2023 11:26

EU nation’s PM announces resignation

Latvia’s Krisjanis Karins has said he will submit a formal letter to President Edgars Rinkevics on Thursday
EU nation’s PM announces resignation

Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins has announced that he and his government will step down later this week.

In a statement on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday, Karins, who leads the center-right New Unity alliance, said he had informed his faction that he would submit a letter of resignation to President Edgars Rinkevics on Thursday.

The prime minister also accused his government partners in the conservative United List alliance and the right-wing National Alliance party of “blocking work for welfare and economic growth.” He invited his faction to nominate a candidate to replace him.

Speaking at a press conference, Karins insisted that Latvia needs a strong and dynamic government capable of taking tough decisions. “For any country, there are difficulties when someone tries to hold on to their office,” Karins added. “That’s never been my goal.”

The announcement comes after Karins said last week that he would start negotiations to form a new ruling coalition with the Progressives and the Union of Greens and Farmers alliance, which are in opposition. At the time, the prime minister signaled that he had no intention of stepping down.

The opposition agreed to a meeting, although the United List and the National Alliance refused to take part in the talks. Politicians from both parties said they were ready to engage in dialogue only within the existing coalition.

Karins, an American-born linguist and businessman by profession, previously served as Latvia’s Minister of Economics. He became prime minister in 2019 after months of contentious talks, surviving a no-confidence vote the same year.

His tenure has seen a deterioration in relations with neighboring Russia, as Riga has supported sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict. In September 2022, Karins' government approved tough restrictions on the entry of Russian citizens to Latvia via external EU borders.