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Monday 19.02.2018 | Name days: Zane, Zuzanna
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De Facto: all parties promise free benefits for voters in Riga

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAll political parties in Riga promise free benefits for voters, De Facto concluded after looking at programmes submitted by parties.

The programme has compiled information from all parties for which at least 2% of Riga’s residents are prepared to vote.

The keyword found in offers submitted by all parties is – free. De Facto notes that politicians most often promise free public transport. The only difference in their offers is the social group that will receive transport services for free. «The New Conservative Party promises to provide ‘free’ transport services to all, Unity – to people in uniform, the National Alliance – to Riga’s students that travel by train, and the Union of Greens and Farmers promises to provide free public transport services to pensioners,» the programme concludes.

UGF’s mayoral candidate in Riga Armands Krauze explains: «Public transport for all Latvian pensioners free of charge! Riga is Latvia’s capital city. People travel to Riga to participate in cultural events, visit grandchildren and children. They also spend their money here.»

Politicians also often promise free lunches for children in kindergartens and ‘free’ studies for excellent students. Harmony and Honour to Serve Riga promise ‘free goodies’ the most; Unity as well. For example, politicians in power want to win the hearts of voters with ‘free’ parking in micro-districts. Unity promises ‘free’ healthcare policies for pensioners. «Populism is when you promise something you cannot possibly keep. I would even say, looking back, I’ve been rather restrained in that programme,» says Unity’s mayoral candidate in Riga Vilnis Kirsis.

LTV explains that unfulfilled promises are nothing new as well. For example, NA promises to resolve the forced land lease situation. But nationals already had the means to resolve it in the past. They are in charge of Justice Ministry. Harmony and Honour to Serve Riga promise all the same – to fix streets.

«It turns out that, considering the harmonization process, especially in relation to private land, yes, we failed there. If you want to criticize us, please, you can do that here freely, but I promise we will be in every yard in the next four years,» says Riga Vice-Mayor Andris Ameriks. NA’s mayoral candidate Baiba Broka believes everything has been done to fulfil the promise: «We did what we promised to do. But there are certain factors to consider and continue working on.»

Journalists emphasize that the inability to fulfil promises does not prevent people from making more promises. Most often political parties express the unshakable will to repair the capital city’s streets. Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks often receives attention in political parties’ promises as well. Election promises also include reduction of corruption in municipal administrations and ensuring better transparency for decision-making processes. «A crime hides behind many secrets. This is why we want to make deals transparent in all fields – kindergarten construction, public transport services, etc. It turns out, Riga has a lot of money, only it flows out the capital uncontrollably,» says the mayoral candidate from the New Conservative Party.

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