Thursday, March 11, 2010

Do Latvian people really appreciate what they get? (updated)

The EU directorate of economic and financial affairs (ECOFIN) just announced, that the disbursement of EUR 0,5 billion was executed today. This disbursement of money was another part of community assistance within framework of the 7,5 billion loan that should save Latvia from insolvency. Latvian virtual bankruptcy was very much precipitated by reckless and amateurish policies of the right from centre governing coalition (People' s Party, First and Latvian Way Party Union, Union of Greens and Farmers, and Fatherland Party). The present Cabinet of Valdis Dombrovskis is the fifteenth since the Supreme Council of Latvia announced that sovereignty is reestablished within territory of the Republic of Latvia, and it is already more than five years since Latvia is a proud member of the EU. The number of disenchanted voters distrusting major institutions of government is constantly increasing in Latvia. Even more interestingly, the number of folks distrusting the EU is on the rise for last two years. Disenchantment with the governing clique is just one part of the story, but also the increase of poverty and general apathy of the electorate is gradually making Latvian Europeanization unruly. Shame on you AAA team! It is sad that the electorate (40-45% of undecided voters prior elections) has followed these false prophets thus easily so far...

And as if it is not enough Latvian ill famous AAA team has been open and active today. First, somewhat emulating FDR and his "new deal" the former PM and founder of People"s Party (PP) reached out to the rest of the society looking for social reconciliation. I should not mention all the mess his PP created throughout years (since its foundations in 1996), and Latvian public reflects its opinion about the past deeds not letting the popularity of PP to climb above the threshold needed for entering the parliament for more than two years now. The former PM finally has outlined the program for economic recovery that was long awaited, and one should only skim through the 64 slides of it to understand that there is little substance in there. And as if this would not be enough the former PM proved, that the meeting of the AAA team took place today in Riga. Are those amendments of the election law or the depth of economic contraction that made the AAA team gangsta members to coordinate their acts thus openly and hurriedly these days?

P.S. And here is my article for today's "Postimees"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Approaching elections and tectonic shifts in Latvia

Prior last parliamentary elections the Union of Greens and Farmers (UGF) political union added the pocket party ''For Latvia and Ventspils'' into its fold. Major reason for such a move was the fact that the major financier of both parties is the Major of Ventspils. Such move initiated a trend of consolidation among existing political parties in Latvia. The next one to follow was the political union between the Latvian First and Latvian Way parties (LFLWP). The LFLWP in its party congress in August 2007 merged as one party to avoid possible legal consequences concerning breach of the political party campaign limits in the election law.
The Harmony Centre (HC) political union was gradually expanding its membership since last parliamentary elections. Number of smaller left to the centre parties (Social Democrats and Daugavpils City Party) have joined the major left to the centre political union so far, and HC is comfortably leading polls for a year already.
As if responding to the minuscule support that Latvian electorate has shown to the fractional political parties also Latvian Europeanized political parties have discussed possible merger into political union for a half of a year already. The Civic Union split from the New Era party in early 2008. The gradually shifting political landscape made them to reconsider the move and since Summer 2009 Prime Minister's New Era, Civic Union and Society for Different Politics have held political consultations about principles of possible merger into political union. The consultations were fruitful and on March 6 the political union ''Unity'' would be founded in Riga.
Half a month ago there were only speculations about possible political union between the People's Party and LFLWP. This morning the Minister of Regional Affairs in the LNT 900 sekundes TV program did not exclude the possibility of creating a Latvian First People's Party political union because according to Minister Zalans demand for such a union exists particularly in Latvian regions.
The elections campaign is starting in earnest, and while expecting the follow up of the ''Unity'' congress (which other political parties joining them?) I am wondering whether the proposed Latvian First People's Party political union is not another way of avoiding paying due fines into state treasury? After all, the LFLWP already created precedent of not paying about 500 000 lats into state treasury and People's Party is due to pay about LVL 1mlj. Latvian State Prosecutors should not let those two gravest examples of legal nihilism to go unattended. The principle of legal succession should still work in Latvia, does it?