Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins has announced his intention to step down later this week, along with his government. In a statement made on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) on Monday, Karins, who leads the center-right New Unity alliance, stated that he had informed his party members of his decision to submit a letter of resignation to President Edgars Rinkevics on Thursday.
Karins also criticized his government partners in the conservative United List alliance and the right-wing National Alliance party for hindering progress in welfare and economic growth. He welcomed his party members to nominate a candidate to succeed him as prime minister.
During a press conference, Karins emphasized the need for a strong and dynamic government that is capable of making difficult decisions. He stated that his goal has never been to cling onto power but rather to address the challenges facing Latvia as a nation.
This announcement comes after Karins previously indicated that he would engage in negotiations to form a new ruling coalition with the Progressives and the Union of Greens and Farmers alliance, both of which are in the opposition. At that time, he had shown no intention to step down from his position.
Despite this development, the opposition has agreed to a meeting, although the United List and National Alliance have declined to participate in the talks. Representatives from both parties have stated that they are only willing to engage in dialogue within the existing coalition.
Karins, who is originally from the United States and has a background in linguistics and business, previously served as Latvia’s Minister of Economics. He assumed the role of prime minister in 2019 after lengthy and contentious negotiations and survived a no-confidence vote the following year.
Under Karins’ leadership, Latvia has experienced strained relations with its neighboring country, Russia. Riga has shown support for sanctions against Moscow in response to the conflict in Ukraine. In September 2022, Karins’ government implemented stringent restrictions on the entry of Russian citizens into Latvia through external EU borders.
As Karins prepares to step down, the focus will now shift to the nomination and appointment of a new prime minister who will be tasked with leading Latvia through a period of political transition and addressing the challenges facing the nation in welfare and economic growth.