Sunday, June 19, 2011

Basketball and elections in the Baltics 2011

Even though Latvia prepares for the hot electioneering after the July 23 referendum about the dispersal of the Saeima there is ordinary life still going on. In addition there are also elections in Estonia this summer, when the new president should be elected in the Riigikogu. The decision of Indrek Tarand (MEP) to become a contender along Toomas Hendrik Ilves in August 27, 2011 presidential elections has added spice to the usually calm Estonian political climate. While the Estonian politicians debate the historic legacy of the incumbent president one may predict that probably some of the discussions would focus on pros and cons of the popularly elected vs. parliamentary elected head of state problematique.

Latvian incumbent president Valdis Zatlers would probably try to continue overhauling the Latvian oligarchy. After his ominous Decree No. 2 in May 28. 2011 there are some very significant changes taking place in the Latvian parliament already. After wrangling for two years the head of the KNAB was finally popped with 82 YEA votes and only two MP's abstained. Also the parliament in its last session prior the summer recess lowered the limits for the election campaign financing by half, opened the way for MP's to be prosecuted if the Prosecutors office or Supreme Court decides so. The amendments in the Commercial Act would finally allow judicial branch to learn the beneficiaries of the offshore companies in Latvia. And last but not least the the head of the Constitutional Court officially announced that the ill qualified member of the Constitutional Court Vineta Muižniece probably has no way of return to work at the Supreme Court. The previously mentioned member of the court was suspended from her duties, because she is facing criminal proceedings for fraud while being the head of the Legal Committee of the Parliament.

Political process is slowly euroepanized in Latvia but parliamentary elections would probably bring only scanty changes. If one thinks about the long term sustainability of the Latvian democracy then the public initiatives, which started after famous "funerals of oligarchs", could probably ensure embededness of civic participation in Latvia. Estonia would further develop en route of becoming another boring Nordic state, and the summer would be spent in vacationing mood. It would actually be a perfect moment for many tourists who would be coming to Lithuania for the Eurobasket 2011, or allowing the basketball to be played in country where the game could be equated with religion. Also many Latvian fans are grateful to the Eurobasket 2011 organizers, because the Latvian men's squad would be playing its preliminary round in Siauliai, the town situated almost on the Latvian border.

While there is dim hope for Latvian men's team reaching beyond the preliminary stage there is little doubt that Mr Kemzura's squad would be willing to show the best Lithuanian krepsinis has to offer. In the meantime Latvian fans are following with keen interest another Eurobasket. While Lithuanian fans can cheer on about a very good performance of their ladies squad Latvian team made headlines only tonight. L'Equipe header tonight: "retour sur terre!" explains it all, because Latvian women's squad managed to work hard and deservedly won the reigning European champions. The midsummer night and biggest festivities of the year are approaching, and on June 23-24 the cities will empty in Latvia and Estonia. In the meantime while Lithuanian ladies will have to play themselves out from the media clout of their male colleagues, it is the Latvian male basketball players who have to find ways around the better playing female colleagues. Enjoy the basketball and smile about the politics in the Baltic States this summer!


Photo: www.fibaeurope.com

1 comment:

Alehins said...

Thank you, very informative, liked it. In your face Veiko ;) We may be of different views on whether some born-dead anonymous blogs are liberal enough to be daring or simply compromising the good name of liberalism. I deeply appreciate your stance and engagement and wish ourselves more, much more liberal democracy after 23 July.