Yesterday LETA informed that 140 297 signatures are collected for initiation of changes in Latvian pension laws. It means that, if the number of about 150 000 signatures would be collected by May 15, 2008, and the Central Election Commission would approve it to the parliament, then the Latvian Constitution underlines that the two amendments presented - constitutional changes allowing qualified number of electors to initiate dissolution of the parliament & changes in pension laws - should be processed in the present session of the parliament. The speaker of the parliament Gundars Daudze already uttered his apprehensions about the fact that the present session of the Latvian parliament could turn out to be the longest in Latvian history.
In the meantime government behaves like headless chicken. The PM has come out with ludicrous announcements ranging from arrest of the cruise liner Ms Mona Lisa until it has not paid all the dues, questioning authenticity of the results of the State Audit office that found that seven Latvian ministries failed to comply with law, to planning to ban private money lenders because according to Ivars Godmanis they do not follow the anti-inflation measures of the government.
The fact that government behaves like headless chicken is another reason, why is there referendum coming about changes in pension laws. Latvian cabinet continues its path dependency and it simply follows mechanistic policies without really understanding how they will affect the populace. The fact that economy is almost stalled and about 20 000 Latvian pensioners have problems to make their ends meet should make the government accept expansionary monetary measures. Latter measures would help to reinvigorate stalled economy, and thus help the economy to get out from slump. Latvian budget is outdated and stagnant, and the fact that social payments financed government budget deficits all these years is simply ludicrous. While Estonian government seriously thinks about cutting government expenditures their Latvian counterparts are still trying to find excuses for not cutting red tape!
Four ministers, with their state secretaries, undersecretaries and the rest of the staff should be abolished immediately. The E-secretariat functions belong to the ministry of transportation, social integration secretariat performs tasks of the ministry of justice, the child care ministry is the task ministry of welfare should actually do, and finally the European funds secretariat is nonsense, because why is there Ministry of Finance after all?
These four appendixes should GO first, after that there are myriad of state agencies nobody is really accountable for. Perhaps I am too harsh here and they are keeping books after all, but why the State Audit office finds irregularities in most of them again and again, and again... ? Instead of reforming the looming red tape the government is spreading horror stories about a possibility that stipulations in pension laws would initiate a collapse of the entire pension system. Answer to such a warning of the present political clique is ambivalent. First, in order to keep the pension system intact, government can finance their cronies in warm government positions and finance them at will from ever-increasing Social Fund. Second, the government does not say that proposed changes in pension system would subsequently bring with them also cutting the size of burgeoning red tape, and remodelling the Latvian administration, that has stagnated from its inception in 1991.
The present political elite in Latvia is simply incompetent (one may not find a better symbol for such "an elite" than the present Prime Minister) and they are sitting like lame ducks and wondering where they have lost their legitimacy!!?? Remember Peoples Party (TP) and Latvian First Party (LPP/LC) fellas - it was in September 2006 when you stole elections, and remember the ominous Supreme Court Senate ruling as of 13 of November, 2006 stating that illegal election campaign of aforementioned parties broke the law! Now Godmanis, Kalvītis, Šlesers, Brigmanis, Daudze & the rest of buddies you pay for that with total lack of legitimacy in the eyes of Latvian electors.
There is no other way out of this mess - just snap elections!