Saturday, April 21, 2007

Interregnum in Latvia...continued

This Wednesday there were Latvian politics big shots in the ''Kas notiek Latvijā'' TV LIVE show. Former prime ministers Šķēle (TP) and Repše (JL) were present as well as Bojārs (LSDSP), Naglis (LC), Urbanovičs (SC), and Šlesers (LPP) took part in the show that had to shed some light on the deals between Ventspils Inc. and the Latvian interest clubs also called political parties. Aye, it sounds a bit smug here, and my critics could quite justifiably say that party membership is declining all across the political spectrum in the industrialized world. However, the numbers of Latvian party membership are just horrendously low (TP and ZZS below 3000, LSDSP about 2500 and JL about 1250 and the rest even lower). These static numbers and present corruption scandals make me apprehensive about the ability of the Latvian political elite to manage the balanced development of the society in case there should be some external shock. Latvian economy is dangerously overheated and inflation expectations should be only fuelled by the illegal monies flooded into economy, whilst waiting for the mandatory tax and property reporting law to be introduced on January 1, 2008.

The LIVE TV show did not bring out anything sensational except the promise of the former PM Šķēle that he WOULD NOT run for the Latvian president! Also it was rather funny to see boasting (bluffing?) Šķēle saying that he was helping A.Lembergs to win a better European harbour directive in the European Commission within the co-decision procedure of the EU, by calling the President of the European Parliament (former head of the EPP/ECD Party Group) Hans Gerd Pöttering. It sounded as if H.G. Pöttering is his buddy, and his claim that Tautas Partija (TP) has the biggest number of Latvian conservative members in the European legislature is a blatant lie, because for example MEP Rihards Pīks is the only member, whilst JL has two MEPs - Valdis Dombrovskis and Aldis Kušķis. Thus, LTV correspondent Guntars Rēders could make an interview with the Speaker of the European Parliament and ask whether he is ever met with Mr Šķēle?

Populist and egocentric former head of the LSDSP was over - critical about the Latvian privatisation process of the 1990's. However, he did not even mention his own son Gundars Bojārs, who was the maire of Riga and is also an owner of multiple businesses that were privatized in a rather obscure way. To be honest privatization is not really on agenda in Latvia these days, although the member of the board in the Riga International Airport was fired this week after the insistence of the LPP party member Krišjānis Peters. Latvian Transport Supremo has ambitious plans in the RIX airport. Shall see whether the double-joggling between megalomaniac projects in the transport sector and positioning of the LPP party as the central axis for the Russian electorate shall be successful?

Today fomerly liberal and presently barely breathing Latvijas Ceļš (LC) party called for a change in the election law that would allow also Latvian non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. About three months ago the same line was pronounced by their election partner LPP, and early this week also PCTVL party anounced that they would start collecting signatures for initating the popular vote, that would give non-citizens the right to participate in the local elections. Therefore, my question here is whether LC feels that 150 000 signatures should be collected and snap elections possibly announced? Or maybe, in order to survive their own identity, they must to attract Russian speaking electors in order to have credibility within the negotiation process while uniting with the LPP party early this spring?

Questions are still open and interregnum in Latvia continues. In today's Diena Mr Zaķis (JL) calls for the Latvian electorate to sign-up for the referendum about the amendments in the Law of the security organizations and possible call of non-confidence for the incumbent government. There are still about 1,5 weeks to go and it is still possible to collect other 60% of the signatures needed in case Latvian electorate would be smart enough. In one of my previous inputs I already said that in case 149028 signatures should be collected I would shave my head bold. However, it seems that my hair shall stay intact and it would be a mark that in the 2,37mlj. divided population only about 10% of the citizens are active (out of about 1450 000 eligible electors) and taking part in chores of the civil society - thus how should we call the rest of the 90% of the Latvian electorate?

I leave this question open and keep my fingers crossed during this time that could actually acquire the name interregnum only if there would be the turning of the page of Post-Soviet development, in case there would... .

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