A Latvian Supermarket Collapsed, Therefore Latvia’s Government Must Collapse Too

Latvian PM

According to Latvian logic, when a supermarket collapses, the government must follow suit!

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis announced his resignation after accepting political responsibility for the collapse of a supermarket roof in Riga that killed 54 people. Dombrovskis’ resignation means that his centre-right government will automatically fall and the president must appoint a new government to tide over the country until the October 2014 elections.

“Considering the tragedy and all related circumstances… a new government is needed that has the clear support of parliament,” Mr Dombrovskis told reporters.

Resigning as the head of a country over a supermarket incident? Seems a little extreme, but the collapse of the Maxima supermarket was the worst disaster since Latvia declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and considering their population is only 2 million, I guess 54 people is a lot. Still, there must be something more to it…

Maybe a closer look at Dombrovskis’s four-year tenure as Prime Minister can shed some light on why he feels politically responsible for the supermarket disaster, which was caused by design flaws and poor construction.

After taking office in 2009, Dombrovskis made some harsh budget cuts and relied on a series of painful austerity measures to pull the Latvian economy out of crisis. While widely credited with preventing the small Baltic country from going bankrupt, Dombrovskis made a few decisions regarding government oversight of construction projects that he would come to regret. In 2009 Dombrovskis voted in favour of phasing out the nation’s Building Inspectorate and passing it off to the municipalities as part of the widespread austerity measures.

And apparently that move was enough for his government to take full responsibility for the tragedy. Still, even though he didn’t prevent the collapse of a supermarket, at least he prevented the collapse of the Latvian economy. That’s got to count for something, right?

Via: The Wall Street Journal

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