Coalition party KPV LV’s parliamentary faction and board have decided to nominate Saeima MP and Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee Chair Jānis Vitenbergs for the role of Economics Minister, as the current Minister Ralfs Nemiro steps down, according to the “Panorāma” broadcast and Latvian Radio on March 16.
Nemiro is stepping down as he recently had his access to state secrets revoked, and plans are for him to take over Vitenberg’s committee position. Interior Minister Sandis Ģirģens will be acting Economics minister until Vitenbergs’ candidacy is approved by Saeima.
“Work will continue both on rescinding the mandatory procurement component (OIK), and on creation of the Skulte gas terminal,” said Vitenbergs.
At the same time he acknowledged the work associated with the current crisis situation, and that “I’m ready to lay in the boat and row to help the country in a moment of crisis.” KPV LV faction leader Atis Zakatistovs revealed that due to the Covid-19 crisis the party is ready to continue work within the coalition, despite the controversy.
According to LETA news agency Vitenbergs finished the Latvian Culture College in 2005, where he studied to be a tour guide. In 2008 he got a bachelor degree in tourism management at the Liepaja Pedagogical Academy. Before becoming an MP he was a sales manager at LIETAS MD.
As previously reported , Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns called on Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš to dismiss Nemiro, believing the move is necessary after Nemiro became embroiled in a public dispute with his own state secretary, Ēriks Eglītis.
Bordāns said that the actions of the Minister of Economy and related events around the Latvenergo utility company are not in line with the principles of good governance.
On February 5 Nemiro suspended his ministry’s state secretary Eriks Eglitis and asked law enforcement authorities to investigate him for alleged violations related to the supervision of the mandatory procurement component (MPC) system related to electricity tariffs.
The position of state secretary in a ministry is in effect the senior civil servant.
Eglitis, however, believes that he has been suspended for his resistance to the appointment of the minister’s adviser Pavels Rebenoks to the Latvenergo energy company’s supervisory board.