Latvian minister of justice steps down in surprise

21.06.2012, 11:04

Late in the evening of 20 June, the Latvian justice minister Justice Gaidis Berzins (Nacionala Apvieniba VL-TB/LNNK (NA)) announced that he is stepping down from his office, reports news2biz Latvia.

PM Valdis Dombrovskis was away on a state visit, so he has not yet accepted Berzins' resignation. He is to meet with the minister on 21 June and discuss his decision.
The resignation came as a complete surprise, although Berzins had his disagreements with Dombrovskis before. The reason cited for resignation was the proposed compensation to the Latvian Jewish community for property lost during World War II. The Ministry of Justice had to prepare a list of properties eligible for the compensation. Berzins, a right-wing nationalist, saw the proposal as unjustly shifted towards one ethnic group and refused to do so.
Berzins' party NA maintains that the minister's decision is his own and the party does not plan to leave the government. If it does, however, the Dombrovskis' government will no longer have the majority in Saeima.