Monday, March 30, 2009

Quick exit from the sinking ship???

Little by little former political elite members leave their warm places. After resignation of Ivars Godmanis some politicians smoothly retired into the parliament and the two most controversial ones among them. Today Delfi reports that the former head of Latvian border guards Mr Āboliņš "handed" over his letter of resignation to the Minister of Interior. Tomorrow Latvian president must have an announcement about his self-imposed memorandum to the Latvian present political elite. Until the announcement tomorrow at CET 8 pm, and apparently even after the ominous speech, the Latvian political culture should remain puzzling. Day after tomorrow after climbing half way to Everest, tenure of the worst Latvian politician of all times should finally run out.

While some former politicians are forced to retreat, and some others plan to return or rejuvenate [there were two new parties formed last weekend in Latvia - New Latvia & Libertas Latvija], the government of Valdis Dombrovskis tries hard to keep the half sinking Latvia Ltd. afloat. While the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance are hard working and apparently with best intentions I do not believe that it is enough. Magic wands wont work here and the sluggish Latvian Saeima [parliament] serves as a drag on the country's further development. Resignation of Mr Āboliņš is only the tip of the iceberg, because the real "berg" is the multitude of mostly pre-pension age nomenclature members, who serve as shackles for the Republic of Latvia freeing itself from the stagnated and sometimes corrupt networks of closely knit cells of people.

Until the members of parliament and complacent politicians in the state company boards wont learn the lesson that transgressing the law brings punishment, there will be no substantial way out from the present economic meltdown. For civil society trusting the present government there needs to be the possibility to start punishing the People's and Latvian First/Latvian Way union parties for transgressing law, and thus to start from a clean sheet. For that, there is no better mechanism designed in most of industrially developed West than snap elections. For years Latvian politicians have tried to develop "their own bicycle", as the old proverb says in Latvian, while Latvia's Southern and Northern neighbors have relied on emulating the best examples of EU governance. If the current economic and political crisis does not ring the wake up call for the old political class and the President, especially in a time when 65% of Latvian population would happily see the present parliament being sacked, then what would??? About 63,9% of Latvian young people are ready to leave the country permanently, thus I would like to ask: Mr Zatlers do you want Latvia to turn into a home for the elderly?


Text in Latvian: [driver] Hop in! We are taking the same route! [Latvian cyclist] No! Can do it myself!
Cartoon: Gatis Šļūka

8 comments:

Wannabe Sorosieši said...

I hope that you are right about the Finance and Economics Ministers. I hope that they really are acting in the best interests of the people of LV. It seems to me that they will bring in a Shock Doctorine approach that will please the IMF, but will radically change the social welfare structure of LV and will ultimately lead to an enrichening of the already rich and an improverishing of the already poor and, ominously, a destruction of the middle class.

BIOGRĀFIJA said...

Wannabe:

The principles of budget making should be utterly changed. In order not to blindly follow the path dependency of formerly bad ideas, the shock doctrine shoul jump start the melted down economy. I do not share your scepticism about policies of present government enrishing only the well off folks, because nobody prohibits them to look for representatives who defend their rights. You cannot destroy something that does not exist, and if the middle class was built on steroids, then lack of steroids would kill the slack. Really acting middle class (with the SLOGAN no taxation without representation!) should be borne out from the rubble left over from KalvitisSlesersLembergs mismanagement.

EFP said...

[...After resignation of Ivars Godmanis some politicians smoothly retired into the parliament and the two most controversial ones among them. Yesterday Delfi reported that the former head of Latvian border...]
Estonian Free Press

Wannabe Sorosieši said...

Biogrāfija-

We can't look for these "new" representatives directly, and a few months is plenty of time to take down the country. I hope that new budget principles will really be what you say. But, if they destroy what little is left of social welfare, public services and the responsibilities of the state, we are sunk. I want a progressive income tax, I want clear and open discussion of all budget process related issues. I also believe that, whether by design or by accident, that the mismanagement that you refer to had the effect of setting us up for the shock. Yes, spending on stupidities and expecting that we will forever grow rich by flipping real estate has to end, but not at the expense of safety for the poor and middle class.

And the history in such fun places as russia, Poland, Chile, Bolivia and South Africa suggests that these shocks end up magnifying problems and concentrating wealth even more than it was pre-shock.

If Repše does not go public with some information soon, thaen we should all be afraid because that means that a huge brick of shock will be heaved at us all at once and probably at a time when we can't do anything about it.

Wannabe Sorosieši said...

Here it comes!

IMF experts urge ruling coalition to introduce radical structural changes and revise state budget

RIGA, March 31 (LETA) - International Monetary Fund (IMF) experts, in a meeting with Latvian coalition council members yesterday, urged Latvian officials to introduce radical structural changes and to thoroughly revise the national budget plan, as LETA learned from the Head of People's Party Saeima group Maris Kucinskis.

IMF representatives pointed out that mechanical state budget cuts cannot solve Latvia's economic problems. IMF experts believe that radical changes must be introduced in both the government administration and at local governments.

"The initial plans to forward the state budget amendments to Saeima for review already in April do not seem realistic anymore. If we are lucky, the parliament will confirm the budget amendments only at the end of June," Kucinskis prognosticates.

Finance Minister Einars Repse (New Era) also told media representatives that amendments to the national budget will be prepared according to completely new principles, and the amendments will be forwarded to Saeima only at the beginning of June.

It is clear that the usual principles for structuring the budget can no longer be used, a new approach is necessary, stressed Repse.

Extensive structural reforms will be carried out to achieve a non-deficit budget, a political decision will have to be made which functions the state will provide funds for from now on. Distribution of budget funds will only be considered after that, Repse explained.

"We will have to start structural reforms from scratch," stressed Repse.

According to Repse, ministries have already been assigned to draw up structural reform plans for their respective ministries, which will be considered by the government. Any specific decisions will be made at end-April or the beginning of May, and the budget should be submitted to Saeima at the beginning of June.

International lenders also approve of such a schedule, said Repse.

T o o n said...

I like your blog, good reading.

Nice cartoons too. In case you need some more, check:

http://www.produksies.blogspot.com/

I make weekly cartoons for the Baltic Times, if you like them and if you mention my blogspot with them, feel free to use my cartoons as well.

Cheers,
Toon

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