The world economy lives through its first and severest crisis in the early 21st century. Those countries that had sensible governments and knew how to prepare for dire times are relatively well prepared. Geographic differences and historic legacy certainly had a role to play here, but those factors are not paramount in today's global world. While there are plenty of good examples of governance to emulate, very often domestic political dynamics and constellations of interest groups determine governments wish to adapt, free ride or resist the global transformation processes.
In Latvia one could witness gradual turning away from the adaptation to the double processes of europeanization and economic globalization after 2004. The Emsis government first and Kalvītis government after, started simply irresponsible free riding. With free riding I describe the irresponsible role of governments using financial resources in support for questionable economic activities or outright nepotism without any proper regulation. Financial resources were abundant all the way up to 2007, due to deregulated global financial markets. Due to the uniqueness of its political system in its negative sense the weakest among the Baltic States witnesses now triple - political, economic, legitimacy- crisis in Latvia.
The latest pollster was taken just after the ominous demonstration on January 13, 2009 in the Riga Dome Square, and published in Diena and TV3. Political party ratings and particularly those of the governing coalition show irreversible slump. The number of persons who would agree on sacking the present parliament tomorrow is 64,3%. The amount of alienated voters has somehow decreased, and it seems that the economic crisis is teaching some of the alienated ones the lesson that in democracy there is no one else to trust but yourself... . President held consultations with all the political parties today and concluded that the Ivars Godmanis government must continue to lead the Latvia out of the economic malaise. In the meantime the call for national unity government materialized in the PM calling the largest opposition New Era (JL) party into the government, but JL announced that they would agree on such a proposal only, if there would be a new and non-political prime minister leading the new government. PM Godmanis announced in the Latvian TV 100. pants program that he could agree on such a proposal, but he also wants to see who that person would be and Mr Godmanis still believes in slimming the government from eighteen to eleven ministries.
PM hopes to cope with the ordeal, and he also believes that the latest trip to Korea and Japan (he returned from the trip to the Far East on weekend) has taught him the lesson, how to get out of the present dire straits, because according to Ivars Godmanis "both Korea and Japan were in exactly the same situation in the early 1990's as Latvia is now". I could partially agree on his statement, because in macro-economic and structural terms similarities are there indeed, but the size of population matters as well, or perhaps I am a pessimist in this regard... .
Anyway, party political games will be ongoing, and president will try to play the stabilizing role. His position is not solid, because the People's Party iron guard G. Bērziņš already announced that the president can count on presidential elections following the snap election in early June. Apparently the governing coalition members want to teach a lesson to the "stubborn president". The De Facto TV program of the Latvian TV first channel announced that apparently there is a plan to strip the president of all his privileges after the abrupt end of his tenure. What else one may utter here, a true coup de grace proposed - if you want to survive in bear's lair then you must get used to the rules in there... .