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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Latvia's Prime Minister Rejects Calls to Resign

RIGA, Latvia -- Latvia's prime minister has rejected demands to resign after dismissing the country's anti-corruption chief, but he will face a tough test this week when the parliament votes on the 2008 budget.

On Friday, Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis lost two ministers -- one resigned and one was dismissed -- who had both disagreed with the dismissal of anti-corruption chief Aleksejs Loskutovs. Thousands of people rallied on Thursday for Kalvitis to quit.

In refusing to step down, Kalvitis said Friday that the government had key tasks ahead, such as the budget and finalizing a border treaty with Russia.

"We have to take responsibility. ... The coalition has decided to move ahead," he told reporters after a meeting of the four coalition parties.

The budget vote Wednesday is regarded as important because of the need to cool Latvia's overheating economy, where annual inflation hit 11 percent in September.

"Next week, [the budget] will be a serious test for the government," President Valdis Zatlers said after meeting with Kalvitis. Under the constitution, the government falls if it fails to pass a budget.

Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks resigned over Loskutovs, and although Kalvitis told reporters that he had not accepted the resignation -- because the border treaty with Russia still has to be finalized -- Pabriks said in an interview that he was determined to leave. He said he would stay only for as long as it took Kalvitis to find a replacement.

Regional Affairs Minister Aigars Stokenbergs was dismissed over the Loskutovs affair, officials said.