Latvia leader rejects parliament dissolution calls

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RIGA, Nov 5 (Reuters) Latvia's president rejected today calls for parliament to be dissolved and said any new government would have to be formed from current elected political parties.

About 8,000 people demonstrated on Saturday against Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis, the second protest in two weeks after the government tried to fire the anti-corruption bureau chief.

The crowd chanted several times for parliament to be dissolved.

But President Valdis Zatlers told LNT television that there were no alternatives outside the current parliament.

''That means that whether we want it or not, a political situation will have to come from the parties currently represented in parliament, those that currently exist as parties,'' Zatlers said.

The president has already said Kalvitis should step down as four ministers have either quit the government or been dismissed during the crisis over anti-corruption bureau chief Aleksejs Loskutovs.

The government has now withdrawn that decision, but support for the coalition parties has plummeted. The protests were sparked by the Loskutovs decision, but have widened into general demonstrations against corruption in high places and for less political interference in the legal system.

Zatlers said he would meet Kalvitis on Wednesday and repeated that he thought the government should step down after a Nov. 8 vote on the 2008 budget. He did not say who he thought would be a good candidate as premier.

Kalvitis' coalition has 57 seats in the 100-seat parliament.

This could mean any new government will again consist of the current four parties, though with a different prime minister.

Zatlers, whose job includes nominating prime ministers to form government, is to consult widely among current parliament parties, including the opposition.

Reuters PD DS1443

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