2013-11-28 16:31:32

Latvian governmentt falls after supermarket tragedy

(Vatican Radio) Latvia's prime minister has resigned after accepting political responsibility for the collapse of a supermarket roof in the capital that killed dozens of people. His decision means that his centre-right government automatically falls.

In a statement Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis' said that "considering the [...] tragedy and all the related circumstances, the country needs a government that has a majority support in parliament." Dombrovskis, who was the longest serving prime minister in Latvia's history, said it was crucial that the next leadership can, in his words, "solve the situation that has arisen in the country." His decision followed three days of mourning in the country, where church services were dedicated to the victims of last week's supermarket roof collapse, a tragedy the president called murder.

As many as 54 people are known to have died in the disaster at the Maxima supermarket, in Latvia’s capital Riga. The police has opened an investigation into the case, amid reports that flawed design, substandard construction materials, and corruption may have played a role. It was the Baltic nation's worst accident since it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

President Andris Berzins said he has accepted the prime minister's resignation and is now searching for a candidate who will need to put together a new coalition government. The upheaval comes at a time when the country prepares to officially adopt the euro as its official currency on January 1st 2014.

Listen to Stefan Bos' report: RealAudioMP3

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