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Monday 18.06.2018 | Name days: Madis, Alberts
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Skele leaving politics - loss or gain?

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULong standing politician Andris Skele has announced that he is set to leave politics once and for all after the 10th Saeima deputy mandate is put down. Instead he is about to take up dairy farming. Skele’s former colleagues are divided over his politic performance. Some of them pity a talent that is now lost, while others would not bet on Skele leaving for good.

“I happened to work at Skele’s government in 1995. Undoubtedly, at that time all politicians were very confused after the elections. The government mainly consisted of the party Popular Front’s (Tautas fronte) deputies who did not know much about economy. There was a large budget deficit, so Andris Skele was selected as non-partisan candidate with experience in business,” the ex-Prime Minister (1998-1999) Vilis Kristopans (party Latvian Way) told the news portal BNN, when commenting on Andris Skele’s political activities.

“It was very easy to work with Skele. He rather harshly created a balanced budget, and for this I take my hat off to him,” Krištopans says, expressing hope that “someday another minister will come and create such a budget”.

Kristopans recognizes that Skele has been widely criticized for privatization issues, yet the former politician points out that such activity “similarly took place throughout the entire Soviet Union. Someone was always privatizing something”.

Kristopans approvingly speaks about Skele’s characterization. “He has enormous work capabilities, great investment banker talent, ability to successfully purchase, sell and restructure”.

“His talent is undeniable and he might even be hated for this,” Kristopans says, adding “if Skele wants to do something, he will”.

According to Kristopans, any politician who is successful in business is assessed with caution and prejudices.

“I entered politics as a founder and owner of a bank. One might say I went in for politics with a million in pocket. Wealthy people are not loved in Latvia, but the country cannot do without rich, successful and smart people,” Kristopans indicates.

He adds that Zatlers Reform Party has even included jobless persons in its list of candidates. He finds it hard to understand how such people can be in the government at all.

In his view, all those who proclaim the so-called anti-oligarch campaigns are “mediocre people, one could say, even losers who replicate information over fear of competition”.

“Look around, all across the world – the U.S, Germany – very rich and successful people are in power. But Latvia does not love such people. This is a bitter truth,” Kristopans concludes.

“Mr Skele has a very strong personality. He joined politics very suddenly. Since he was not a member of any of that time parties, he established his own and won in the elections. It was a very logical and democratic carrier ladder.”

Ex-prime minister (1993-1994) Valdis Birkavs believes Skele’s top achievements are the ability to arrange the national financial system. He also points out Skele taught people to spend only the means that have been earned.

In general, Birkavs approves of Skele’s performance in politics despite there has been severe criticism of him.

“To my mind, the Latvian politics is quite dirty an full with false statements. Skele is simply tired of it,” Birkavs says, adding that the loss in the previous elections played a role in the move as well.

He does, however, admit there have been mistakes in Skele’s politic activities, but he is not ready to name them, saying that it would call for in-depth analysis.

In terms of statements calling Skele an oligarch, Birkavs says, “One can call those who have achieved something an oligarch. Politicians’ effort to work for themselves and the country is inevitable. Good if there are situations from which both can benefit.”

According to Birkavs, Skele saying goodbye to Latvian politics is more like a loss rather than a benefit for Latvia.

“I would not bet on Skele entirely leaving politics. He has also previously voiced such statements,” Alfreds Chepanis, former Saeima Speaker (1996-1998) and member of Demokrātiskā partija Saimnieks, indicates to BNN.

“He was the Prime Minister at the time I worked as the Saeima Speaker, and we met very often. Whenever we agreed on something – he failed me, and these were not global issues. Alright if it happens once, but he always forgot about me and the promises he had made,” the ex-Saeima Speaker says.

He adds that Skele is undoubtedly a very smart man. “If Skele is called an oligarch, then, unlike other oligarchs, his achievements do not deserve a monument,” Chepanis says.

However, Chepanis could not name any Skele’s good deeds.

In turn, asked why, in his opinion, Skele announced his withdrawal from politics so suddenly, Chepanis emphasizes it is absurd. “He will leave only for a while, then return back again to sort out his matters. He is too young and handsome to retire from politics altogether,” he says.

“Mr Skele has a very strong personality. He joined politics very suddenly. Since he was not a member of any of that time parties, he established his own and won in the elections. It was a very lofical and democratic carrier ladder.”
Birkavs belives Skele’s top achievements are the ability to arrangee the national financial system. He also points out Skele taught people to spend only the means that have been earnt.
In general, Birkavs approves of Skele’s performance in politics despote there has been severe criticism of it.
“To my mind, the Latvian politics is quite dirty an full with falce statements. He is simply tired of it,” Birkavs says, adding that the loss in the previous elections played a role in the move.
He does, however, admit there have been also mistakes in Skele’s politic activites, but he is not ready to name them, saying that it calls for in-depth analysis.
In terms of statements calling Skele an oligarch, Birkavs says, “One can call those who have achieved something an oligarch. Effort to work for oneself and the country is inevitable. Good if there are situations from which both can benefit – the strate and the politican.”
According to Birkavs, Skele saying goodbye to Latvian politics is more like a loss rather than a nefit for Latvia.

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