Latvia's outgoing economics minister survives no-confidence motion vote

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RIGA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Latvia's outgoing Economics Minister Arvils Aseradens on Thursday survived a no-confidence motion tabled by left-wing lawmakers, who consider him responsible for a much-criticized system subsidizing the country's producers of renewable energy, local media reported.

MPs of the leftist Harmony party decided to demand Aseradens' resignation as they consider the green energy subsidy system, which has increased electricity bills both for businesses and residents alike, unlawful.

The Ministry of Economics, which now agrees that the subsidy system is indeed illogical and unfair, has come up with a plan to phase it out in three years' time, but the parliament on Thursday ordered the ministry to speed up work on regulations that would allow scrapping the subsidy system already by this spring.

Ivars Zarins, an MP of the Harmony party, said that although the no-confidence motion was largely symbolic as a new economics minister is expected to soon replace Aseradens in Latvia's next government, it was important to highlight the problem of green energy subsidies and emphasize the importance of the rule of law to parliament.

MPs, however, rejected the no-confidence motion by 53 votes to 35. Of the five political parties involved in forming Latvia's new coalition government, only the right-wing KPV LV joined Harmony's call for Aseradens resignation. Enditem

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