Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Independent candidates in the Latvian PM race (updated)

Latvia's incumbent president unexpectedly brought out new horses for the PM race. He is meeting in the Riga Castle independent candidates right at this moement. Meetings with the head of the American-Latvian Financial Forum and former Latvian Ambassador in Washington DC Mr Aivis Ronis, the president of Savings Bank (Krājbanka) and the former head of the president Vaira Vīķe Freiberga Chancellary Mr Mārtiņš Bondars are over already. At this very moment he is meeting the Head of the Latvian Chamber of Commerce Mr Andris Bērziņš who was former president of Unibanka.

The fact that he would meet independent candidates right after meeting candidates nominated by the political parties is unexpected. It was already known that president would also consider consulting with independent candidates and actually about a month ago in one of the TV LIVE Kas notiek Latvijā? shows Mr Bondars was alraedy positioning himself as a possible candidate, and I would reckon him as the most ambitios among the independent candidates. Thus, if not his credentials as former basketball player (and president likes playing bsketball as well) then at least his wife was already winner of the Mrs Latvia peagant competition:-)

It seems that the presidential chancellary wants to brake free from the conspicuous and somewhat uncomfortable relation between the incumbent president and the Saeima majority, that found him in the Zoo and elected with the simple majority. Consultations with independent candidates show the president as a considerate stateman who wants to find the best candidate for the PM position. The delay even increases his ratings, but it is a tricky endavour after all, because by nominating "wrong" candidate (that the society would deem not having clean credentials) he might put himself right on the anvil to listen to the sound of liberal media hammer. If president by any chance would nominate an independent candidate the latter would have to find a support in the Saeima anyway. It is a titanic task, but it also gives the signal to the parliament that as an institution it is useless, if it is even unable to agree among themselves and offer the PM candidate. Would such turn of events gradually lead to the snap elections?


I shall give an interview to the Latvian Public Radio 1st program in an half an hour, thus skimmed through the biographies of new horses in the race. Former ambassador Aivis Ronis got his history degree from the University of Latvia, but he already announced that he was not offered the task to form the new cabinet, thus we may discount him from the race. Mr Bondars studied mathematics in the University of Latvia but got his BA degree in business administration from the US, because his educational credentials are questionable I would not count him highly, because prior becoming the head of the Vīķe-Freiberga chancellary he was not elected into the Riga City Council from the Fatherland Freedom list in 2001. Thus, journalists would find this fact and he would have hardships proving that his tarnished uniform is solid enough.

The former president of Unibanka Mr Andris Bērziņš has unfortunate surname, because it is the most popular one in Latvia, and I could not find his CV in The fact that he was a president of Unibanka make me somehow think that he might have an education of an economist. Unibanka was formerly state owned and he had to work with the former Lavian government representatives, thus I would not be surprised if president would name Andris Bērziņš as a candidate.

If such nomination would take place it might serve as a swan song for the incumbent parliament. Majority of MP's would not like to lose their seats, but the fact that they would appoint the candidate offered by the president (giving away their legitimate right to offer the legitimate candidate to the president) would make any self-respected MP West, North and South of Latvia to puke...Would MP's dare to not appoint the presidential choice?

The generation gap is becoming more and more pronounced in Latvia. The generation that rules Latvia now do not understand the changes and rules of the game in the European liberal democracy. Simple technocratic upgrade of the Saeima work is impossible due to the fact that majority of MP's were socialized during the Soviet period where clear distinction existed between civic society and dissacotiation from the state, moral integrity and nepotism/graft, and where the first part of the wording couple was not held in any esteem. The existing MP's and the rest of the political elite TRULY BELIEVE that the present political crisis is an unsuccessful PR campaign.

MP's do not understand that they have persistently breeched basic principles of the rule of law during the last year, thus undermining the very foundations of the democratic state, MP's still believe that they can squeeze into parliament with the help of their godfathers, and they believe that godfather's lawyers and spin doctors will hush up the whole dissatisfaction in society. I somehow fel that the thin red line is crossed this time. The crux of the present political crisis is whether Latvia'n population wants to live in the democracy where rule of law prevails?

The three official party nominees have not endured their test and that was announced from the Riga Castle today. The strange news is the fact that the incumbent president has not announced why was not he satisfied with the proposed candidates?

Ivars Godmanis already yesterday announced that he should be considered as a back up candidate. Mr Dombrovskis was considered as weak link due to the fact that he was not supported by the governing four parties. Mr Zalāns made sucidal interview and buried himself as a future politician. Those candidates should not be discounted totally, but I still stick to my conclusions that without snap elections there is no rational outcome out of this murky situation.


Anonymous said...

Is it me or is VVF rather quiet? Is she more keen on taking Sarkozy's blue-ribbon "future" panel's head position than to help Latvia? Is this simply running away, or does she -- like many of us -- see no solution with this current Saeima?

Whoever is PM makes so little difference. This Saeima will make things impossible for anyone but will just prevent new elections. This is sick.

Maybe this is also good. They prolong the life of the Saeima and new parties will come and run these guys out. I'm sorry, it's Christmas time, wishful thinking is in the air...


Anonymous said...

Why don't they find someone who is politically less compromising (and without the miscellaneous business ties)? Like VVF, Ojars Kalnins, or someone more neutral?

It's not enough for someone to be politically neutral. Look at Estonia when they wanted the late Aadu Luukas to run for president. He's okay for a business tycoon, but still, would you want the power of the state linked to one industry (in Luukas's case oil, in Latvia's case banking)?

Baltic said...

VVF was quiet due to the fact that she was more concerned about becoming the vice-president of the Council of Wise, who would prepare the EU 2020-2030 strategy.

Thats it, and Ivar Goodman is the PM now, lets see how the business evolves:)