Wednesday, November 26, 2008

President pushing Saeima

After changeover of the presidential chancellery acts of presidential team have become "presidential". Even though the Latvian president is endowed with rather few powers (Art. 35-54), yet the right, as it is outlined in the Art.48, is powerful enough to make his presence felt in the Latvian balance of power games.

After the Latvian referendum summer the enthusiasm of the nascent civil society groups declined, but the dissatisfaction with the governing elite has not disappeared. Constitutional amendments after the August 2 referendum stopped in half way, and I already voiced my disbelief about chances to pass them prior next parliamentary elections in the October 2010. The spinelessness of the present Latvian majority MP's is embedded, but the presidential team gradually shows that they are able to act independently, and it is surprisingly good news indeed!

The November 18 speech was not only customarily patriotic, but in his speech Valdis Zatlers unexpectedly clearly pinpointed why Latvian public lacks trust in its representatives: "I wish once again to speak about the responsibility of politicians, too – the responsibility to create political dialogue, promote democracy, and ensure stability in our country. The languorous reaction which members of Parliament have demonstrated in response to this challenge since last summer’s referendum indicates political haughtiness toward the stated will of the people."

The president has held consultations with all the political parties in the Saeima. Yesterday's Kas notiek Latvijā? TV show was devoted to the issue of the constitutional amendments. Positions during the show were clearly outlined. The presidential representative Mrs Kukule pinpointed that the president follows recommendations of the report produced by experts of constitutional law. While the opposition parties agree on giving the right to qualified majority of electorate to initiate the dissolution of the Saeima, then those are ALL coalition parties who continue to live on as if nothing has ever happened. The smug attitude in yesterday's show was balancing on the border of stupidity. The biggest bone of contention actually is the number of electors that should have the right to dissolve the parliament. Opposition parties are ready to compromise and agree on rising the margin of half of electors who participated in last parliamentary elections to the 2/3 of the electors of last elections, while the coalition parties do not budge an inch - they stick to the idea that only half of the total number of electors should have a right to dissolve the Saeima (actually a bigger number of electors that elected the whole of the parliament, and thus making the dissolution virtually imposible). Initially opposition parties followed recommendations from the experts of constitutional law, that stipulates that after tedious procedure half of electors of the previous elections should have the right to dissolve the parliament in case of constitutional crisis (the very situation Latvian lives in now!).

The subcommittee that discussed constitutional amendments was dissolved this week and after insistence of the presidential team the task was taken over by the judicial committee of the Saeima. The head of the committee Mrs Vineta Muižniece (TP) yesterday was asked, whether the majority coalition parties would be able to follow recommendations of constitutional law experts and reach the compromise by the January deadline, as it is being set by the president now? As a schoolchild without any ideas of her own Mrs Muižniece retorted, that now the judicial committee would work really hard (how did they legislate so far then?) and would reach the compromise with the opposition.

Interesting, interesting indeed! Is it the insistence of the presidential team to solve this conundrum, that according to Mrs Kukule would imply using all his powers, that made Mrs Muižniece to agree on sudden change of mind? Possibly, because the latest pollsters show, that, if the president would use his rights (Art. 48 - "The President of State shall have the right to propose the dissolution of the Saeima. This shall be followed by a referendum. If in the referendum more than one-half of the votes are cast in favour of dissolution, the Saeima shall be considered as dissolved and new elections shall be proclaimed. These elections shall take place within two months after the dissolution of the Saeima"), then majority of Latvian electorate would actually support such motion.


Anonymous said...

There's a recent movie by Hollywood called Eagle Eye. Have You seen it? It's about IT program that's looking after the government so that it does not exceed its constitutional rights. And if it does- the program eliminates it.

I realize that Hollywood is not the best source of ideas concerning democracy, and I also realize the differences between the US's government and the Latvian parliament.

But nevertheless, may be someone should take some radical measures on the behalf of the people, once the state's political leaders fail to act reasonably, or the people should take those steps themselves.

How come that the state is sold far that even the bread and the matches are imported? How come that state does not interferes when foreign capital exploits its people and does not interfere when the cash is sucked out of banks leaving just an empty shells? Oh, and what a brave move to buy those shells by 2 lvl .. I say, let us not let Mr. Kalvitis escape to Russia. I say let us bring to justice those who are responsible. If the people of Latvia are not capable to act as the should, than they deserve the miserable state they have.

Baltic said...

You are righ and the Latvian DEMOS really deserves such government. It is simply hard to stomack seeing all this happening... . IMF with their conditional loans will definitely force the government to cut the state administration, and I am pretty much sure that it will affect also the social budget.

WHEN THE PENSION INDEXATION AND BABY SUPPORT FOR YOUNG MOTHERS will be curbed, then Latvian folks would probably start showing more pronounced dissatisfaction, alas, my guess is that in winter it will be somehow subdued:)

Have not seen Eagle Eye, but will. At the same time lets follow the news, because around the quiet X-mas and turn of the year time some interesting news might pop up:)

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