Latvia PM resigns after Riga supermarket disaster

Latvia PM resigns after Riga supermarket disaster

RIGA - Reuters
Latvia PM resigns after Riga supermarket disaster

Firefighters carry a coffin of one of three firefighters killed during rescue works in a collapsed supermarket, during the funeral ceremony in Riga November 27, 2013. REUTERS photo

Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis has resigned after the collapse last week of a supermarket roof in the capital Riga that killed more than 50 people, his spokesman said Nov. 27.

The resignation throws into political turmoil a Baltic state that is due to join the eurozone in January and is seen as an example of fiscal prudence and economic recovery after a deep financial crisis in 2008.

"I announce resigning from the post of prime minister, taking political responsibility for ... the tragedy," Dombrovskis told journalists, according to local news agency BNS. The prime minister's spokesman Martins Panke confirmed the resignation to Reuters.

The government had come under criticism after the disaster.

Dombrovskis had previously said the collapse had shattered Latvia, a former Soviet republic which joined the European Union nearly a decade ago. Latvian President Andris Berzins had called the disaster "murder."

The cause of the collapse remains unknown, although police have opened a criminal investigation focusing on the construction of the building. Local media said workers had been building a roof garden on the supermarket, a single-storey building located about a 30- minute drive from the city center.