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Latvian MEP will not discuss Bank of Latvia future with opposition

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Latvian MEP Roberts Zīle

The future governor of the Bank of Latvia should have support from the opposition, says National Alliance «All for Latvia – For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK» board member and European Parliament member Roberts Zīle.

After meeting with all three possible Bank of Latvia governor candidates, Zīle told journalists that his political party will listen to opinions of other coalition partners and, if they are declared acceptable, considering that the political party does not consider any of the interviewed candidates as inappropriate, there will be room to think of a stable majority for the chosen candidate.

He believes that candidates should gather support from the coalition and opposition, because the head of the institution will lead the bank for five years – even after the end of the current Saeima’s term. «The governor of the Bank of Latvia needs support from the majority of the Saeima to propose law amendments,» said Zīle.

Zīle denied, however, that the opposition could be invited for talks about the next head of the Bank of Latvia.

«It is clear it will be a candidate of the coalition, but once a candidate is picked we would have no objections if the Union of Greens and Farmers also supported this candidate. It would benefit the stability of the finance system in Latvia,» says Zīle.

According to the politician, the governor of the Bank of Latvia cannot become an object of political trade.

After meeting with three potential central bank governor candidates, Zīle told the media that he believes the National Alliance’s decision to organize publicly announced meeting s with potential governors was correct. He also urged other coalition partners to do the same.

«This would prevent suspicions about the possibility of candidates being picked by someone who has no say in Saeima’s work,» says the politician.

Read also: Prime Minister: there is no time for an open selection of a new governor for Bank of Latvia

According to Zīle, all three candidates are respectable people and meet all the necessary criteria to take the post.

«All of them have positive sides to them. It was clear to National Alliance politicians how to assess these positives in order to objectively assess results,» said Zīle, stressing that it is immensely important to take into consideration opinions of other coalition parties.

The political party still has not decided in favour of any specific candidate – the decision will be made during a joint discussion with party members.

«We would like the governor of the Bank of Latvia to take society’s eyes off political games and markets, and, although it will be a political decision by the Saeima, politicians should avoid unclear signs when evaluating candidates,» said Zīle.

He stressed that one of the primary tasks is improving the reputation of the Bank of Latvia, because the criminal processes have «nailed Latvia to the ground». According to the party, the governor of the Bank of Latvia should do everything in his or her power to make sure the question about reputation in Latvia and internationally is no longer on the agenda, especially in regards to the possibility of giving the Bank of Latvia supervisory function.

The National Alliance wants to prevent a situation when shortly before deciding on the next head of the bank some new candidate appears out of the blue.

«The practice when real candidates fear appearing until the last moment should be abolished for a number of posts. The post of the governor of the Bank of Latvia is very public. People should have clarity about possible risks associated with candidates,» says Zīle.

He reminds that not a lot of time is left until the end of term for Ilmārs Rimšēvičs. This is why it is necessary to achieve clarity with possible successors so that society is away how parties pick candidates.

The National Alliance intends to invite coalition parties to perform the search for the head of the Bank of Latvia openly next week.

Zīle reminds that Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš has said that there may be yet unmentioned candidates for the post to lead the Bank of Latvia.

«I don’t know why the prime minister would have any fears shortly, some one and a half months before the end of the term of the current governor of the Bank of Latvia. Could this undermine the budget? I don’t believe in such things,» said Zīle.

«I wouldn’t want the coalition to negotiate the governor of the Bank of Latvia in exchange for something else. This post is very important for Latvia. This is why there is no room for barter, so to speak,» said the politician.

Zīle said that so far several names have been mentioned in regards to candidates to lead the Bank of Latvia. The candidates mentioned so far have not agreed to become contenders.

«Reinis Rubenis’ name was mentioned, but he is in consideration now. If he agrees, we will invite him for talks. Uldis Cērps was mentioned, too, but no real progress is observed,» said Zīle.

The National Alliance has been the most active in talks with potential contenders for the post of the governor of the Bank of Latvia so far. The party has so far met with Bank of Latvia council member Mārtiņš Kazāks, ex-Finance Ministry’s state secretary Sanita Bajāre, as well as Fiscal Discipline Council member Inna Šteinbuka.

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