Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Autumn Season

Almost a month has passed since I last dropped a line into my blog. August transformed "traditional" international affairs in the post-Soviet space and Europe at large. After ominous 08.08.08 events the EU leaders should realize that the post-modern political system, where such virtues as peaceful and rationally calculated relations between nations and other political actors, omnipotence of human rights, and win-win games prevail, is utopian without basic mechanisms of modern statecraft and possession of hard power. The EU is the biggest consumer market and the most populous Western state, but militarily the EU is a dwarf. Inability to agree on common energy policy and EU military dwarfishness explains the EU's inability to fully exert its potential influence, as well as inadequately bullying attitude of the Kremlin's two-headed leadership. Alright, and shall return to the transforming international affairs this weekend, but why was I silent for a month? After all there were certain issues I wanted to write about before, but then reconsidered my plans and decided to give myself a brake and have some time for recollection. After all, the life still goes on, and after personal recollections I feel better equipped to analyze and write instead of doing it the other way around.

After a busy end of the august preparing for the new academic year and managing personal affairs I am back in Salaspils and busy managing my time. The August weather was miserable, and I had not seen such a rainy end of the summer in Baltics in my "short" life:) Actually, there was a monsoon like rain in Riga two days ago, and some meteorologists reckoned that it was probably leftover from the tropical storm "Hannah". Personally I feel that the global weather is changing, because winters are becoming warmer, and we have more rain in the Baltic States. The political scene, quite the opposite, is as stagnated in Latvia as before.

First, the second referendum amending the pension laws did not reach the needed quorum of 475 000 votes, because only about 325 ooo voters appeared at the voting stations. It seems that today's young persons believe that they will be young forever and will somehow skip the pension age. Second, the governing coalition continues its free fall, because the collapsing economy and world economy outlooks do not provide any good news. While, the news are bad the incumbent PM could finish structural reforms and slim the bloated government, but he already announced that he does not want to risk with loss of income for hundreds of bureaucrats families.

Last week "Latvijas fakti" published the latest party ratings and there are neither surprises nor good news. The public considers Latvian governors illegitimate, because only barely 15% support the opposition Reconciliation Centre (SC) and New Era (JL) parties. The coalition parties according to August data would not even squeeze into the parliament. The number of undecided and alienated voters has increased, and that is no good news. Major reasons for such a negative public opinion are disastrous news about the state of mismanaged Latvian economy. Last week PM Godmanis announced that government would not be able to keep their promise, thus all (!) public sector workers pay rise in 2009 is terminated. Unfortunately Ivars Godmanis made a public relations blunder, because he announced such bombastic news prior the tripartite meeting with employers associations and trade unions, and that angered both parties.

The picture is with a rather bad qulity, thus for those of you who follow Latvian politics the ratings in Latvian are:

Saskaņas centrs - 10.5%;
Jaunais laiks - 5.8%;
Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība - 4.8%;
Tautas partija - 4.5%;
LPP/LC - 3.7%;
Par cilvēka tiesībām vienotā Latvijā - 3.6%;
Pilsoniskā savienība - 3.1%;
Tēvzemei un brīvībai/LNNK - 2.9%;
Aigara Štokenberga veidotā partija - 2.6%.

Swing voters - 34.1%

Alienated voters - 19.7%


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