Sunday, February 3, 2008

Changes in elitist Latvian political landscape

After a group of prominent members split off from the New Era (JL) party there are rumours confirmed about Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis (MEP-TB/LNNK) planning to form a new right wing conservative party in Latvia. I do not want to question need for such party, but to put it simply, to have another right wing party in Latvia is a luxury for the AAA team.

The fact that ossified political landscape is shaken up is very good news indeed. Mr Štokenbergs plans to have a center to the left party, and it definitely will be an alternative for the Moscow engineered and Latvian secret police neglected (in comparison with EST) left wing politics in Latvia.

The fact that Latvia finally has an essential element for controlling public finances through the mandatory income declaration system, and there is a ombudsman office is a step in right direction. To test how well those essential innovations[for proper functioning of an accountble democratic system] work there is a need for more time. For maturation of the political system there is a need for upgraded tax legislature, and the upgrade could not happen without the mandatory income and property delaration system. Now with the innovations mentioned above there is finally a possiblity to test how well Latvian constitutional framework works [see forthcoming article together with Dr. Axel Reetz in]

I do not believe that someone "clean and pure" coming into Latvian politics would change the existing political culture. For that to happen there is a need for meticulous and persistent work, and THAT is quite impossible to expect from the "lost generation" born just after te Second World War, and who tries to ensure good retirement package for themselves, and sometimes with rather questionable methods [endemic corruption in Latvian].

Fresh blood transfusion is badly needed for the reshape of the traditional political landsape in Latvia, and to get proof for that just evaluate performance of the Saeima dynosaurs, Juris Dobelis for example. He philibusters in the parliament (Seaima) since 1995 with his friends without the need for accountability [the only legislature he promoted (wasn't even an author) was ill famous citicenship law (amended after presure from OSCE), and he still sleeps on those laurels] because his voters like him for his straight talk. Just look, 18% of the 9th Saeima is there from the 5th Saeima and government ... .You want to have names - Bresis, Kalniņš Imants, Tabūns, Turlais, Ābiķis, Lagzdiņš, Seile, Putniņš, Grīnblats, Rugāte, Leiškalns, Urbanovičs, Indulis Emsis, Andris Bērziņš, Gundars Bērziņš, Raimonds Pauls, Godmanis, Ozoliņš.

The shake up of the political landscape was long due and I very much hope that this would lead till snap elections. Latvian civil society badly needs snap elections to boost its own credibility, and convince swing voters (about 40% of total members of electors) that it is posible to channel their disatisfaction with the MP's open breach of law [one cannot expect for snail motion legal system to prosecute corrupt members of the political class in toto] into replacing those corrupt and stagnated politicians with new ones. Simply, until now the Latvian political class feels untouchable, because their collective God/masters always managed the system without really shaking it up and it only adds to their feeling of false superiority above the rest of society [see interviews with long serving MP's Imants Kalniņš, Raimonds Pauls].

p.s. There is an interesting interview with the incumbent PM Mr Ivars Godmanis in "Rīgas Laiks" February issue, and I will definitely come back and analyze it next week!

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