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Latvia: Premier Fires Interior Minister In Pre-Election Tussle

Riga, 1 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Latvian Prime Minister Andris Berzins has demanded the resignation of Interior Minister Mareks Seglins in a dispute over campaign leaflets, as Latvia prepares to go to the polls on 5 October to elect a new government. Berzins's spokesman Arnis Lapins said the prime minister asked Seglins to resign last night.

Police detained a man in the Riga area yesterday for distributing leaflets slandering Seglins's People's Party, and then went on to detain a printer and two members of Berzins's Latvia's Way party, which they said had ordered the leaflets.

Berzins, whose party is struggling to keep above the 5 percent parliament threshold, denied the Latvia's Way party had any connection with the leaflets and said the incident was "a provocation." He added that Defense Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis would take over Seglins's duties until a new government is formed.