I am prepared to continue working with all ministers

Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš and Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele

Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš is prepared to continue working with all ministers, as journalists were told by him in response to claims of some disagreements with Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele.

Kariņš refrained from giving an evaluation to the criticisms voiced by Attīstībai/Par! about the prime minister’s position on COVID-19 crisis and the accomplishments of the healthcare minister. At the same time, the prime minister said the most important factor is for the government to agree on clear and decisive action.

«The pandemic spreads regardless of what anyone thinks about this virus. Yesterday and today we experienced an anti-record. We have a clear strategy and tomorrow we will speak with experts. If we do not act quickly, we may end up in a situation when the disease spreads uncontrollably with wide negative consequences. The longer we wait the worse it will get,» said Kariņš.

When asked to evaluate the stability of the government, Kariņš said that the five-hour talks of the 2021 budget in the coalition proved that difference of opinions is nothing bad – the most important factor is agreeing on a common result. «We will continue this during the pandemic as well,» added the prime minister.

When asked to comment on the question about government stability, Kariņš stressed: «I am prepared to cooperate and work with all ministers».

Viņķele previously said she is prepared to continue working in the government even though she is critical of Kariņš.

«We and our colleagues from Attīstībai/Par! often clash with our opinions to help explain how better to explain the prime minister’s and Finance Minister Jānis Reirs’ tax amendments, which, we believe, were not clearly defined or fair,» the minister criticized Kariņš’s work in her private blog.

According to the minister, AP «has listened patiently and withstood different private and political neuroses of different members of the government».

«We understand well that the country needs a decisive government in times of crisis, so we are prepared to continue working in a team,» Viņķele concluded.

Kariņš and Viņķele had previously exchanged sharp opinions about each other’s responsibility in management of COVID-19 crisis. Oil in the fire was poured by Kariņš’s interview to Ir magazine, in which he said he is unhappy with Viņķele’s pace with COVID-19 affairs.

Read also: Lithuania is introducing three-week nationwide quarantine, much remains unclear

In response to Kariņš’s words, AP leaders Juris Pūce and Daniels Pavļuts voiced criticisms about the prime minister’s position during COVID-19 crisis and his statements about the healthcare minister.

«I was taught to depend on experts, work in a team and explain decisions, not voice controversial statements, to manage crises. I would rather we didn’t step away from principles when dealing with the pandemic. This especially applies to the captain of the ship – the prime minister,» said Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister.

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