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!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

After the 2011 Latvian presidential elections

Even though he is not a party member, he was elected on the Union of Farmers and Greens party list into the parliament and on June 2, 2011 Andris Bērziņš became the 7th democratically elected president of Latvia. More thorough analysis would follow in couple of days, but the overall mood in Latvia those days could not be better depicted by Gatis Šļūka.

[Oh my god! I have lost my way...]

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 2, 2011 presidential elections in the Latvian parliament

Its about couple of hours until the presidential elections in the Latvian parliament will start. Latvia is a classical parliamentary republic with 100 representatives electing the president once in four years. Today its time for reelecting the incumbent candidate, or choosing a new one after the last Saturday' s announcement which caused only small tremors until now, but hopefully would overhaul the whole Latvian governing edifice. Delfi has published historic review of how the presidential elections were taking place for the last twenty years. I very much hope that today's decision would be the last one with MP's politicking...:)

There is an ooutright war announced against self made minigarhic politicians and the Corruption Prevention Bureau is doing its job while the head of the bureau was on the leave, thus its time to pop this nuisance as well.

The optimal result of today's elections should help Latvia proceed with its structural reforms in economic and political system. While at the end of the year the IMF financial assistance should be terminated, Latvia could have a steely president, public cleaned of corrupt politicians and public officials, new parliament elected - a true RESET of democratic rule! Thus, the Latvian people could have a fresh start - and this is what I wish prior the outcome of today's vote in the parliament:)

p.s. Here are pieces 1, 2, 3, 4 for the Estonian readers