It was a very laborious evening discussing peculiarities of Latvian politics with my colleagues Andris Sprūds and Jānis Bērziņs yesterday. After all the gloomy scenarios I wanted to keep a positive tone today. It is spring weather outside, its sunny and Latvian U-18 ice hockey squad keeps its winning streak. However, my hopes of positive Sunday were crushed with latest news about official donations to Latvian parties.
According to latest news from LETA it is Peoples Party (TP) who leads the list followed by LP/LPP and New Era parties. According to latest data TP received donations totaling Ls 13400.
Head of Aglona municipality Ms Helēna Streiķe donated Ls3900, Līvāni municipality head Andris Vaivods donated Ls 2900. These sums look like peanuts, but if one considers that Latgale region(both Aglona and Līvani are in Latgale) was the poorest in the EU prior Romania and Bulgaria joined the club, one must start thinking how the governance system works in Latvia Ltd. Also, the Deputy Maire of Riga Andris Ameriks (LC/LPP) donated his party Ls10 000, thus why do I have such inquisitive tone?
Because I could somehow understand Mr Ameriks donating 15000 euros to his party, because his 2007 income declaration states that he "earned" in boards of public companies and Riga municipality about Ls 177 000 (250 000EUR). But Ms Streiķe earned only Ls23000 and Mr Vaivods about Ls30000. I do not want to count their monies, although the Internal Revenue Service might question the reliability of remuneration system in regional councils and development agencies, but the sums (10% of their annual income donated to their party) look conspicuously like a traditional tithe.
It is widely accepted "secret" that heads of municipalities in Latvia have a duty to support their party treasury. After all their salaries and state allocated monies to support infrastructure of their municipality very much depend on their ability to "support" their party. A vicious circle?