Sunday, November 25, 2007

Party Consultations

Last Friday President V. Zatlers held consultations with the Harmony Party (SC). On Monday he should continue his consultations with New Era (JL) and People's Party (TP) representatives. The Riga District Court starts processing the Kempmayer Ltd vs Latvia court case and among the accused there are two former prime ministers - Vilis Krištopans and Andris Šķēle. In the meantime Latvian Trade Unions continue signature collection for the constitutional amendments, that would give 50% of electors the right to disperse the parliament.

On Saturday there were two party congresses. The only grassroots right wing political party in Latvia (all others are formed by charizmatic leaders) - Fatherland Union (TB/LNNK) - chose Roberts Zīle (MEP) as its head. The new leader of the party won the race with 4 votes ahead of another MEP, Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis. The result pretty much shows that the Old Guard of the party have an upper hand in the party. Therefore we can not exclude that the fraction voting for Mr Kristovskis might split off and join the newly founded political force, that is formed by the TP "dissidents" Messrs Pabriks and Štokenbergs.

TP congress in Valmiera legalized decisionmaking rights for the founder of the party, Mr Andris Šķēle. The highly expected event very much showed the behavior of an average Latvian voter - almost total following of a strong leader. At the closing speach of the congress Mr Šķēle skillfuly confronted the delegates and asked whether they considered it wise that he should resign from the party in order to avoid tarnishing TP? Out of 400 delegates (that is a one fourth of the total membership of the TP) only 4 hands were raised and Vaira Paegle was among them.

There were discussions in both congresses about the state of Latvian economy and also self reflections considering bad ratings of both parties (according to latest pollsters neither of them would get into the parliament now). Funny enough, but among the major hindrance for the "normal" functioning of the Latvian democracy delegates found - you guessed right - the media or a fourth power as it is nicknamed in Latvia. Instead of dissecting the undemocratic decisionmaking process within parties the delegates lazily accepted existing reality as "normal" and foolishly painted the media as a scapegoat for the ills of Latvian political reality. At least it is openly known now that two parties of the governing coalition are conservative enough (what does it mean to be conservative in the post-Soviet society after all?) to comprehend dynamic events in the common European space. Rearangement of the centre right political forces must follow from the events following the December 5 stepping down of the PM and probably initiation of snap elections. Questions when and how it will happen are still open and will be decided by the fact whether New Era (JL) designated candidate would lead the new government. This decision is for the incumbent president to decide however.

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