Latviski English По-русски
Ceturtdiena 22.03.2018 | Name days: Tamāra, Dziedra

Diagnosis: each party has its own pre-election headache

(+1 rating, 1 votes)

University of Latvia housed one of the last prime minister candidates public discussions in the eve of early elections of the 11th Saeima. Parties showed different attitude towards their most dynamic voters – students.

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThree official prime minister candidates took part in the meeting: Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity), Aivars Lembergs (Greens and Farmers Union) and Edmunds Sprudzs (Zatlers Reform Party). Political association All for Latvia!-TB/LNNK candidate Gaidis Berzins did not attend under the excuse that he had to take part in a debate in Venstpils – “the sacred territory” of Lembergs. Instead the party had sent an experienced politican Dzintars Rasnacs, ex-justice minister. While Harmony Center took everyone by surprise. Despite having two prime minister candidates – Janis Urbanovich and Nils Ushakov, they sent Sergey Dolgopolov, also an experienced politician but not quite the age of the audience.

Neither Slesers Reform Party, nor For Human Rights in United Latvia were invited under the pretext of low popularity ratings.

Dolgopolov scared people with yet another economic crisis and dismal demographic situation. According to him, the current government has information enough to drag down all the risks to a minimum. Other prime minister candidates (from parties not represented in the government, including Harmony Center) are deprived in this sense. So he believes they are unable to save the country. However, the Saeima member from Harmony Center believes that the government itself lacks clear vision on the necessary consolidation. Another topic Dolgopolov touched upon concerns the government’s responsibility to raise pensions. The issue of the elderly barely making the ends meet apparently did not catch the young people’s interest.

Dressed neatly as always, Lembergs opened the debate, saying that the most soaring issue of Latvia is attraction of external funds to boost production. What he probably meant was Economy Minister Artis Kampars (Unity), because, he believes, a man that is contra-advertising his own country simply cannot attract investments. “Those in power must go down on bended knees to please investors and convince them to place their money here. Moreover, we should not distinguish. Capital has neither nationality, nor age or race,” he said.

Dzintars Rasnacs needed only a minute to introduce to all possible threat Latvia is currently facing. He also pointed at what had already been singled out – economic instability and grim demographic situation. What followed really did make the audience perk up. Rasnacs set forth what he believes is the third problem – Russia’s geopolitical interest in the Baltic countries. The politician tried to intimidate students with the idea of Harmony Center being in the government, claiming that it would result in the eastern neighbour seeming even more frightful. He promised the party would not change its nationalist nature also if appointed into the government.

Edmunds Sprudzs in turn spoke about the mission and goals of the government. According to him, Zatlers Reform Party’s major priority is to restore the society’s trust in the Saeima and other politic bodies. He knows where this return path is, but it calls for reforms in the electoral system. Sprudzs based his speech on foundation solid enough – economic growth (especially fight against shadow economy), higher education reforms and decent demographic policy. Sprudzs deemed the educational system as catastrophic, but time to time contemplated over his own studies and school choir. The audience approved of this.

The current Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis once more assured he is ready to take the seat for the third time, then quickly shifting to his favourite topic – the economy. He talked about heaps of different numbers, GDP growth percent, too many Latvians leaving and the social budget. Dombrovskis does not see the main threat stands behind the back of the east, but rather in external economic factors. It is because Latvia happens to be an export-oriented country.

Compared to the rest of the candidates, the current Prime Minister seemed rather confident and unwavering. Neither was he embarrassed when asked whether he himself would hire a person he had just fired. It did not take Dombrovskis much time to spot the reference to the Saeima dissolution and his wish to be re-appointed. Still he said in the blink of an eye, “It is voters who decide everything.”

Leave a reply

Farmers in Latvia dissatisfied with resolution of electricity-related problems

Two months have passed since farmers in Latvia had received unjustifiably large electricity bills. Countless meetings and discussions have taken place in those two months. Unfortunately, no decisive measures have been undertaken to resolve the problem. Farmers are confused with decision-makers’ incisiveness in a matter important to the national economy, as noted by the Farmers’ Saeima.

Life after 25 May: is this the end for free publication of photo galleries from events?

Many of us like to check out photos from concerts, conferences or sport events on gallery portals and social networks to have a look at guests of those events. However, after 25 May, when General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, the situation will no longer be the same.

Saeima to establish legal framework for Baltic cooperation in disaster prevention

On Thursday, 22 March, Latvian Saeima supported a legislative draft, ratification of which will help create legal framework with other Baltic States in prevention of disasters, as reported by the parliament’s press-service.

Number of complaints with postal services on a rise in Latvia

Public Utilities Commission has compiled information about complaints submitted by residents in regards to postal services in 2017. The number of complaints has increased alongside opposing views about package terminals – the regulator has received 37 complaints in total.

Output of livestock products in Latvia increased in 2017

Compared to 2016, output of meat grew by 4.6 % and output of milk by 1.4 % in 2017. In 2017, in Latvia 91.2 thousand tonnes of meat were produced, which is 4.0 thousand tonnes or 4.6 % more than in 2016. The most significant increase was observed in the output of poultry (of 11.3 %) and pork (4.7 %).

Turkey's offensive in Syria condemned by NATO ally Germany

Angela Merkel, the head of the German federal government has stated that Turkey’s military offensive in the northern Syrian town of Afrin was unacceptable and she blamed Russia for simply watching, while attacks by Syrian government forces on besieged eastern Ghouta continue.

Finance minister still believes tax reform in Latvia has brought results

«The tax reform has given us the results we had expected, especially in regards to combating envelope wages,» said Latvia’s Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

Planned hospital reorganisation in Lithuanian regions irks both mayors and patients

If the plan of the Lithuanian Ministry of Health to overhaul treatment services in the provinces does not hit a snag, the rural hospitals will be soon providing only essential care and nursing, the focus will be on out-patient care and treatment will be available only in larger county hospitals.

Ventspils beach high in popularity this week; Lembergs gets spotlight time as well

Ventspils ended up in the spotlight in an unusual way this week: seals washed up on the beach there. Animal Freedom emphasizes that human contact with baby seals would hurt them. Residents are asked to maintain at least 50 m distance from them. However, the suspended Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs decided to take photos with baby seals and publish them on his Facebook profile.

Ombudsman: problems in nursing homes and social care centres are associated with lack of funding

Problems in nursing homes and social care centres are largely associated with lack of funding, because it is not possible to perform high-quality work using currently available resources. This is the responsibility of ministries and the government, as ombudsman Juris Jansons mentioned in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Estonian music authors receive record royalties for 2017

The organisation, which is tasked by collecting royalties for local and foreign music in Estonia, the Estonian Authors' Society, has received six million euros in royalties in 2017, which is its record level.

Facebook sorry for permitting exploitation of 50 million user data in politics

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for the social network failing to ensure enough privacy to its users that allowed for data on about 50 million of its users to abused by a political consultancy firm.

Zhdanok’s replacement to promote non-citizen matter in European Parliament

Miroslavs Mitrofanovs, who has taken Tatyana Zhdanok’s place in the European Parliament, plans to promote the matter of non-citizens in the institution.

Riga City Council committee supports increasing municipalities’ expenditures by 42.38 mln euro

Following an initiative from the Financial Department, the outlook for the municipality’s base budget revenue has been increased by EUR 1.66 million for 2018. The expenditures portion of the budget is planned to be increased by EUR 42.377 million, as reported by Riga City Council.

French ex-President named suspect in Libya funding case

In France, its ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has been named as a suspect in the formal investigation for alleged illicit campaign financing, misappropriation of public funds of Libya and passive corruption.

Finance sector’s development council supports prohibition of shell companies

On Wednesday, 21 March, Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis’ managed Finance Sector’s Development Council supported initiative on prohibiting shell companies, as confirmed by the prime minister.

Level of producer prices in Latvia’s industry is up 3.4%

Compared to January, level of producer prices in the Latvian industry rose by 0.5 % in February 2018. Prices of products sold on the domestic market grew by 0.7 %, but prices of exported products went up by 0.3 %.

Minister: Latvia is far behind its neighbours in terms of digitization and e-skills

In terms of digitization and e-skills, Latvia is far behind its neighbouring countries and the rest of Europe, said Latvian Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

OECD: Latvian employees work longest hours in Baltics

In a comparison of Baltic countries per average annual hours worked, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has found earlier this year that the average Latvian worker spends 1,910 hours at work, followed by the Lithuanian employee with 1,885 hours and the average Estonian worker with 1,855 hours.

12th Saeima failed to complete half of its pre-election promises in field of justice

In 2014, Delna – society for openness and Providus think tank received support from all parties represented in the 12th Saeima in regards to an action plan to help strengthen the rule of law in the country.

Russia carries out military drills in Gulf of Finland

Russian Defence Ministry has stated that in the Baltic Sea Gulf of Finland, which has Finland, Russia and Estonia in its coastline, the Russian military has performed drills for its tactical special operations units.

Prime minister doubts Anti-Money Laundering Service head’s competence

«The work performed by the service requires drastic changes. Whether or not it can be done by its current head [Viesturs Burkāns], I am not sure,» said Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis in an interview to LNT, commenting on the work performed by Latvian Anti-Money Laundering Service.

Vilnius chosen for office of game developer Lockwood Publishing from UK

UK's mobile game developer Lockwood Publishing has unveiled plans to open its first overseas office in Vilnius, pointing to the industry's talent in Lithuania and the wider region.

Association: municipalities should organize their work on their own

On 6 March, Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments reviewed the letter sent to Riga City Council by Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry, in which the institution ordered the municipality to review their internal order and lift restrictions on the length of debates and the number of questions deputies are allowed to ask.

Canada moves to increase gun control

Canada's federal federal government has proposed new gun control measures, but they could reduce support to the ruling Liberal Party in rural areas, where guns are widely owned and used.