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Friday 19.01.2018 | Name days: Alnis, Andulis

Experts: people long for a Presidents that makes them proud

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe upcoming presidential elections in Latvia seem «shrouded in fog», as public experts say after looking at the candidate selection process.

«The Saeima is incapable of doing their job well, and we don’t even know the criteria the parliament uses to select candidates. Because the post of President in Latvia is purely representative, it is not enough to have only political parties involved in the process. We need to include society as well. Society has the right to voice its opinion. And the Saeima has a duty to take that opinion into account,» – said Delna society for openness Director Gundars Jankovs.

According to Jankovs, the candidates’ previous reputation plays a major role in the candidate selection process. On top of that, he believes the names of people currently spun by the media will not be the real candidates. «What we see there is a market. This market can come up with a compromise that will likely dissatisfy everyone. The poor President elected through such a process will have to prove from scratch that he or she is capable of keeping his post. It is vital for the candidate to be accepted by the people he is supposed to represent,» – said Jankovs.

Delna’s director noted that this process has to be open and parties must understand that the people have given them mandates to work in their favour. «Sometimes it feels like political parties have a mutually unfair agreement. Some even suspect corruption risks. It is important for deputies to be objective and independent from the market agreement in their analysis of potential candidates’ skills to be President of Latvia,» – said Jankovs.

He also emphasized that society longs for a President that makes them proud: «We long for a person that would be able to come up with strong arguments and able to represent Latvia internationally. We’ve not been unlucky with our previous presidents – it is the process they are elected in that needs to be changed,» – said Jankovs.

Ineta Ziemele, Professor of Riga Graduate School of Law, notes that the process by which parties look for the right presidential candidate does not comply with the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia. In accordance with the Constitution, the President must not be a political party official. «If we want to look serious in Latvia and abroad, we need to consider candidates that are capable of fulfilling duties stated in the Constitution, be politically neutral and be able to provide society his opinion of certain decisions,» – said Ziemele.

According to her, the Constitution should be used as a reference point. Looking for a candidate that complies with party interests is against the Constitution. On top of that, people should be able to listen to these candidates, so that they can be certain whose interests the aim to serve. «It is not a problem to allow the Saeima to elect the President,» – said Ziemele.

Director of the Latvian Civil Alliance, Rasma Pipike notes that society’s involvement in discussion of important matters lately has been like your average public event. Society has expressed its opinion in regard to the matter of election of the President, but the initiative about allowing the people to elect the president remains unsupported. «Politicians often come up with arguments to make sure residents are unable to participate in this matter,» – said Pipike.

She added that NGOs believe the current process for the election of the President of Latvia is neither comprehensible nor transparent: not one talks to society about the candidates and the election process. The election process should be open. Pipike adds that NGOs in Latvia are strong enough to provide high-quality expert reports on potential candidates.

Director of the Eastern European Policy Research Centre Andis Kudors has noted that it would be great if the President could focus on matters of external policy and international law, especially considering the current geopolitical situation.

Leading researcher of sociology and philosophy of the University of Latvia Dagmara Beitnere believes the next President of Latvia should be an example for all Latvians. «We should look for someone capable of altruism and capable of giving the people power to do good,» – said Beitnere.


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  1. Ilmars says:

    Would any current politician, particularly Aboltina, care to step forward and publicly defend the current process of choosing the Latvian president ?
    Why is the Latvian president not elected by the Latvian people ?
    A bunch of political hacks are doing sleazy deals behind closed doors, to foist another second rate person into the Latvian presidency.

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