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Latvian FM resigns

Latvia’s struggling government suffers more loses – the county’s leader accepted the resignation of his foreign minister on Monday.

Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks announced his intention to resign on Friday over the prime minister's decision to suspend the Baltic country's top anti-corruption official.

The prime minister, Aigars Kalvitis, initially refused to accept the resignation, but changed his mind Monday, saying he respected Pabriks' decision.

Two other Cabinet posts have been left vacant in the political turmoil that has gripped the nation.

Economy Minister Juris Strods resigned last month, citing family reasons, and has not been replaced.

On Friday, Kalvitis fired Municipal Affairs Minister Aigars Stokenbergs after he voted against the government's decision to suspend anti-corruption investigator Aleksejs Loskutovs.

Kalvitis has asked Parliament to fire Loskutovs because of an audit that revealed improprieties in the accounting of the anti-corruption bureau. Critics believe the move was politically motivated, because Loskutovs had been investigating alleged irregularities involving donations to Kalvitis' People's Party.

The duties of the Foreign Ministry, Municipal Affairs Ministry and Economy Ministry will temporarily fall to Culture Minister Helena Demakova, Finance Minister Oskars Spurdzins and Kalvitis, respectively, the government said.

Kalvitis said Friday the four-party coalition government would stay together in order to see next year's budget and the Loskutovs issue through Parliament.

Latvia broke free from the Soviet Union in 1991. Kalvitis has been in power since December 2004.

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