Thursday, June 26, 2008

Latvian summer 2008 parliamentary session goes on

Yesterday I received a text message from the Latvian opposition MP calling me to come in front of the parliament with flowers to support the head of the Anti Corruption bureau Mr Loskutovs. She asked to forward the message further to others and I did to at least four people. Most probably there will be couple of thousand people with steely determination around Saeima this coming Sunday. In the meantime I am departing to Istanbul this afternoon.

The parliamentary session this summer is continuing and most probably will turn out to be the longest in Latvian history. Latvian motley opposition collected 34 signatures to call for an emergency session of the Saeima. This coming Sunday Latvian MP's must decide whether the confidence in two members of the cabinet, the Ministers of Defense and Agriculture, is still there. The governing coalition, that has barely 53 votes in a 100 member parliament, decided that they also want to decide the fate of Mr Loskutovs on the same day. Saeima procedures prohibit adding another motion into the emergency session. The judicial commission of the parliament decided twice on the issue of vote of no - confidence about Mr Loskutovs. On June 20th with the head of the commission Ms Muižniece in abscentia the decision could not be reached because there was no quorum. When Ms Muižniece returned from Azerbaijan the same evening the judicial commission in the evening decided, without members of the opposition parties present, to move the motion of Loskutovs no-confidence to the emergency session. However, nobody knows exactly whether it will really happen on June 29.

Party political games are still played and the referendum that could lead to snap elections is decided to be held on August 2. Saeima must also decide what they will do with proposed changes in pension laws, and this motion could probably go to referendum later this summer. Also incumbent president, while meeting with people in Strenči ,asked his country men and wo men to actively participate in the August 2 referendum. Does it really mean that he also is tired of the present Saeima, or it is just his public relations stunt knowing that its is rather hard to get circa 750 000 AYE votes (half of the electors in Latvia) in the referendum? It is hard to say exactly, although I would argue that he simply tries to be nice to everyone now. After all nobody prohibits him from exercising his power to call for dissolution of the parliament right at this moment as it is written in the Art. 48 of the Satversme. Also the sociological polls since October 2007 show the ever declining trust of the electorate in their parties, government and parliament.

Alright, incumbent president waits till the referendum results, because it saves him from exercising the right to call for the tedious procedure of snap elections. He is cautious and his betting could be quite right - in any case publicly he was outspoken thus showing that he is for changes in the stagnant political culture. Just he forgets one aspect, that onerous action whilst exercising his powers could have saved him from the bad fame of tax evader, and he missed it:)


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