New Unity nominates Evika Siliņa as Latvian prime ministerial candidate

Evika Silina.
Evika Silina. Source: SCANPIX/LETA

Latvia's Minister of Welfare Evika Siliņa has been tipped as that country's next prime minister, public broadcaster LSM reports.

Current Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) announced his resignation at the start of this week, and he and his party have nominated Siliņa to replace him.

If Siliņa, who recently turned 48, were to become Latvian premier, she would be only the second woman to fill the role, after Laimdota Straujuma (prime minister 2011-2014), LSM reports on its English-language page.

The confirmation of her candidacy followed a New Unity party board meeting Wednesday, following rumors that it would be Siliņa who got the nod.

Siliņa was the only candidate evaluated by New Unity's party group at the Saeima, and received unanimous support from her party.

Siliņa says her first goals as prime minister, were that to transpire, would be a focus on national security and addressing inflation and quality of life issues.

"I am demanding of myself and also of others," she added.

"I think that we will start negotiations, informally, quite quickly. We will definitely continue for a while longer as the existing government," Siliņa added.

"The challenge is quite big, so perhaps I represent the next generation among my more experienced colleagues," she went on.

Continuing changes put in place by the previous administration with regard to education, health services, human rights issues and the state budget, were among the areas that needed addressing, she added.

LSM reports that the coalition alignment she would head has not been outlined yet by Siliņa, which, LSM suggests, may mean her inheriting the issues which led to Latvian-American Kariņš stepping down.

After New Unity's coalition partners National Alliance and United List refused his proposals for a ministerial reshuffle and new government priorities late last week, Kariņš effectively called time on the coalition.

"But I would really like to see the United List and the National Alliance in this coalition as well," Siliņa, repeating, LSM reports, her predecessor's common refrain.

Kariņš plans to formally inform President Edgars Rinkēvičs of the resignation of his government today, Thursday.

The next phase would see the head of state start consultations with all parties represented at the Saeima, after which he will also nominate the new prime minister, LSM reports.

New Unity was Rinkēvičs party while he was foreign minister, a post he left ahead of becoming president last month.

Siliņa is a qualified lawyer and speaks English and Russian, in addition to her native Latvian, LSM reports. As noted she is currently welfare minister.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: LSM

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