Sunday, February 10, 2008

Politics as grey as a sky

Probably rather many of my blog customary readers expect some news from ''transformational Latvia''. Unfortunately skies are as gray as Latvian politics during last couple of weeks. Instead of winter it just rains, rains and rains...and thus also neverending news pour down from newsreels inLatvia, whether they be about two corrupt judges jailed this week, or former Russian Ambassador (Mr Victor Kaluzhny) son's business partner German Milush from Jurmala still being on run from Interpol, and other Latvian minigarhs and crooks waiting for their indictment... .

I am leaving for warmer climes day after tomorrow, and it would somehow limit the number of blog entries. Nevertheless, as I was already stating it earlier this week there is reconfiguration of the political landscape taking place right at this very moment. Actually it could also be called the change of political generations in Latvia. Rather omenously during the citadel of Latvian virtural democracy ''Kas notiek Latvija?'' TV show, there were no members from the ranks of the ''old guard'' political class present. There is no place for jubilant exclamations however, because these are prime ministers who traditionally lose battles and not oppositions who win them from the parliamentary power struggle point of view. Former PM Kalvitis did lose and Mr Godmanis stepped very much into his shoes, but there is no real functioning opposition yet.

For making opposition functional the ruptures of Latvian political status quo this week were laudatory. The New Era (JL) would probably become more coherent and unified in its policy proposals as a major opposition party after its March 2 congress, but I am afraid that the party would become also more nationalistic. Fatherland Union party (TB/LNNK) is dissintegrating and not just MP's (Anna Seile and probably also Gunaars Laicans), but also rank & file members leave the party now.

Grave digger of Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party (LSDSP)and member of the Riga City Council Janis Dinevics wants to make LSDSP more attractive to voters while stripping the word ''worker'' from the party logo and replacing the symbol rose with a more traditional symbol of the European social democracy - a carnation. Probably Mr Dinevics feels the cold breath of Messrs Pabriks and Stokenbergs on his neck, or maybe he has finally found some spare time from helping Mr Skele ''rubbish business'' in the Riga City Council? Anyway while some aspiring political forces look promising, particularly the old guard Latvian political mastodonts look surprisingly quiet.

Weather is grim and Latvian political playground is open for new players. Contest has just started prior July 2009 municipal and European Parliament elections. With the global economic downturn and Latvian overheated economy (the annual inflation rate already has jumped to 15.3% in early February) the playground might turn out to be nasty. Rather symbolically next week those will be the US and Russian new ambassadors arriving to Latvia. Is there competition continuing on this playground (read Mr Edward Lucas arguments in the ''New Cold War''), probably, and lets see what the grey skies shall bring to us.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, good luck on your journey. So many people I know amongst the younger generational intelligencia have now taken themselves away from Latvia -- some permanent, some temporary. But the former is growing, and that scares me. Just as many liberals moved from Russia, it left illiberals in charge. Latvia is at a deciding point the next 12-18 months. If the direction can't be changed, I fear most of those who have "temporarily" departed from Latvia will be permanent.

Baltic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baltic said...

Thank you and you know that I would not have come back from Switzerland if not believing in change of the traditional political culture!

Hope is still there and greatest battles are still ahead of us mate:) keep in touch and see you down South!