Nacionālā apvienība has given Krišjānis Kariņš an ultimatum that will be difficult to refuse

While Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš is on a business trip, the National Alliance (Nacionālā apvienība) has given the head of government an ultimatum that will be difficult to refuse - the Minister of the Interior Marija Golubeva must be dismissed, otherwise the alliance will recall its ministers. Given the challenges the government is currently facing, the prime minister will need superhuman diplomatic skills to keep the minister without destroying the coalition.
13.05.2022. Jānis Lasmanis

"What every person loyal to Latvia was forced to experience in their country on May 9 and 10 is unacceptable. We cannot regard this as an everyday incident for which political responsibility is limited to symbolic criticism and a promise to make amends," Raivis Dzintars, Chairman of the National Alliance, explains the decision of the board of the National Alliance and the Saeima faction to request her resignation.

The National Alliance is firm in its position. Its representative in the Saeima, Jānis Iesalnieks, confirms that the party is not ready to compromise.

It has already been reported that despite calls to commemorate the victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine on May 9 and not to gather at memorials to the Soviet regime, people went to lay flowers at the Soviet monument in Pārdaugava. The flowers were removed from the monument the next morning, and people gathered at the monument again. By mid-afternoon, a few hundred people were behaving in an aggressive manner, including praising Russia and justifying its aggression in Ukraine. The police leadership has admitted that it was not really prepared for the events of May 10, but stresses that in the end the gathering was prevented and the violators were arrested.

The Conservatives also have questions

The National Alliance has made its ultimatum at a time when the Prime Minister is on a business trip in Canada. The Prime Minister is therefore likely to meet with the association that made the demand on Monday - together with the other coalition parties.

The Conservatives (Konservatīvie) are also looking forward to this meeting. They too are not satisfied with the work of the law enforcement authorities. They also have questions for the Minister of the Interior. Krišjānis Feldmans, a member of the Conservatives' board and chairman of the Saeima faction, says that letters with questions have been sent to officials, but no answers have been received so far.

"We are trying to work constructively, within the framework of the cooperation agreement. Of course, the announcement that ministers will be recalled significantly reduces the room for maneuvering for the Prime Minister, but that is why we need to discuss, that is why we are in a cooperation meeting," Feldmans said.

Development/For! (Attīstībai/Par!) is also waiting to discuss the new situation with the Prime Minister, but in the meantime, the organization expresses its undivided support for the Minister of the Interior.

"Development/For! supports Marija Golubeva as Minister of the Interior. It is very unpleasant that the National Alliance is taking such a very unconstructive, government-destabilizing step while our country is in a difficult situation. Now the party will decide on the further course of action, we will definitely ask for consultations with the Prime Minister,"

says one of the leaders of the association, Golubeva's party member at Movement For! (Kustība Par!) Daniels Pavļuts.

The representative of the other party forming the alliance, For Latvia's Development (Latvijas attīstībai), Juris Pūce, chairman of the Development/For! Saeima faction, calls the National Alliance's decision very unconstructive and destabilizing.

Can't be forgiven anymore

While the partners of the fractured coalition await the return of Kariņš, the opposition faction of the Union of Greens and Farmers (Zaļo un Zemnieku Savienība) does not need his presence. It has already submitted a request for Golubeva's resignation.

"The situation on May 9 requires the highest political attention. All the work that the Saeima put in to reduce the possibility of provocation was enormous. We saw what happened on May 9. There the situation was mostly managed fine, but everything that started on the morning of May 10 makes us think that the officials were not up to their tasks," says Viktors Valainis, representing ZZS.

He also recalls that ZZS did not support the other oppositionists' request for the resignation of the Minister of the Interior at the beginning of the year. At that time, part of the opposition was outraged that the State Police had temporarily detained MP Aldis Gobzems for epidemiological offences.

"We demand political accountability. Earlier, when they demanded Golubeva's resignation, we did not support it, we gave the minister time. Today we believe that the minister should resign," the MP said.

Won't want to lose National Alliance

Political analyst Filips Rajevskis is convinced that the Prime Minister will do his utmost to keep the National Alliance in the coalition, which means concessions by Development/For! and Golubeva's resignation on the terms dictated by the Alliance.

The political analyst reminds that Kariņš has already announced that he is waiting for explanations from the Minister about the situation at the so-called Victory Monument. Rajevskis believes that the Prime Minister has reacted rather aggressively to the incident, which suggests that he will not give his protection to Golubeva, but will try to find out how the political force represented by Golubeva would react in different situations before making a decision.

"Kariņš will face a huge dilemma if Development/For! takes a firm position, as firm as the National Alliance. It will be difficult for Kariņš to decide how to proceed. He is unlikely to risk putting it to the vote, because if the National Alliance, which is one of the parties on which the coalition holds, leaves, then the internal game in the coalition changes immediately. This will, for example, give the Conservatives a new impetus to be more aggressive and active," says the expert.

While in Canada, where he was dealing with important issues related to Latvia's security, Kariņš stated that he understood the concerns of the representatives of the parties forming the government and the public regarding the events of May 9 and 10 at the Victory Park monument and stressed that what happened at the Victory Park monument, disrespecting Latvia's statehood, history and the victims of the Russian war in Ukraine, was unjustifiable and that such a situation cannot be allowed to repeat. However, the most important issue at the moment is strengthening the country's internal and external security, which is why these issues are the highest priority on his agenda.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister has instructed the Minister of the Interior Marija Golubeva to submit to the government an assessment of the actions of the internal affairs services and to immediately inform on a follow-up action plan to maintain public order in the light of this week's events.

Kariņš is scheduled to meet with Interior Minister Golubeva and representatives of the political forces forming the government immediately after his return from his visit to Canada.


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