Latvia PM resigns over supermarket roof collapse that killed 54
"I announce resigning from the post of prime minister, taking political responsibility for ... the tragedy," Valdis Dombrovskis told journalists, according to local news agency BNS.
Dombrovskis has headed the country’s government since March 2009,
making him the longest-serving prime minister in Latvia's
"I wish to thank Latvia's society for support during the
trying period when the country was battling the economic and
financial crisis to return to the path of growth. I also
apologize for all that we have failed to achieve," the PM
It is now for President Andris Berzins to either accept or reject
the resignation. If he accepts it, Berzins will nominate an
acting prime minister, who will be tasked with forming a new
"I wish to ask every person looking ahead to evaluate their responsibility and act accordingly," said President Berzins. He has called on the National Security Council's meeting for December 4 to review matters concerning the disaster in Zolitude.
Prime minister's resignation also ends the mandate of his government, which faced criticism following the collapse.
Dombrovskis has said that if it is suggested he heads the
government again, he won’t accept the offer.
"I've just quit the premier's position and I don't think it
will be possible to occupy that seat again after the forthcoming
political consultations," Dombrovskis said. "I’ve
discussed the issue with our President.”
Dombrovskis stressed that he took his decision without any
pressure from the President.
“Since last Thursday I have been thinking about my moral and
political responsibility. I have been thinking about my
resignation during the five days since the tragedy, but I made my
decision at a meeting with the President, who didn’t pressurize
me,” Dombrovskis said.
He will serve as the Prime Minister until a new cabinet is formed
and then plans to return to the Parliament to serve as a deputy.
The move comes amid economic changes in Latvia - the
country is due to join the eurozone in January, becoming the
second Baltic nation to join the united currency club.
Fifty-four people have been killed and dozens injured after the
roof of a large store collapsed in Latvia’s capital.
Following the tragedy Latvian President Andris Bеrzins called for an immediate investigation into what he called the “murder of unprotected people.”
Some 500 square meters of roof caved in at the store’s building
on Thursday night.
The initial collapse in Riga’s densely populated area was
followed by a second cave-in just as the first responders at the
scene were helping the victims.
Three rescuers and firefighters were killed by the second collapse.
Berzins lashed out at the construction firm that was building a residential compound that included the store, saying that it was already trying to shun all responsibility for the collapse.