Monday 20 November 2017

Latvian PM resigns over shopping-mall disaster

Flowers and candles in front of the Latvian supermarket where 54 people died (AP)
Flowers and candles in front of the Latvian supermarket where 54 people died (AP)

Latvia's prime minister has resigned after accepting responsibility for the collapse of a supermarket roof in the capital that killed 54 people and wounded at least 40 others.

Valdis Dombrovskis was the longest serving prime minister in the country's history.

Police have opened a criminal investigation into the cause of last week's tragedy. Possible explanations for the disaster include a flawed design, substandard construction materials, and corruption.

Mr Dombrovskis' decision means that his government automatically falls. President Andris Berzins can either reject the resignation or accept it and nominate an acting prime minister whose job it will be to form a new cabinet.

Mr Dombrovskis came to power in 2009 as Latvia's economy was sinking into a deep recession and was charged with leading harsh budget cuts and tax increases while at the same time implementing tough structural reforms demanded by international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund.

He was re-appointed twice as prime minister since then, and is widely credited with preventing the nation from going bankrupt.

Press Association

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