Justice minister Gaidis Berzins who recently resigned from the post and has decided to resume his Saeima deputy mandate, could become National Alliance‘s candidate for the Riga mayor’s post in upcoming municipal elections next summer, according to Pietiek.com.
Berzins, who has never been a political leader, has got extra points from nationalistic voters by announcing that he resigns due to pressure from the Prime Minister in relation to the Jewish property restitution. National Alliance could use these extra points in Riga city council elections as it is expected to lay stress on nationalistic issues.
Leaders of National Alliance are currently speaking carefully about Berzins as a possible candidate to Riga mayor’s post, however, there are signs the party is considering such an opportunity. The party explains its unwillingness to provide a clear answer about the ex justice minister’s future plans with the fact that there is still a year left until municipal elections and many things can change. They also say that Berzins needs some respite.
«It is too early to decide. I don’t say – no, however decision on such an important question, in my opinion, should be made by the council or even congress of the Alliance. But if you want me to answer today I say no because of human reasons – I want to take a rest for some weeks,» Berzins told Pietiek.com. Still, he didn’t deny that rumours about his possible candidacy to the Riga mayor’s post have not appeared without a reason.
Leader of National Alliance Raivis Dzintars didn’t deny there have been several discussions about the idea, however, it has not yet been decided either by the Saeima faction of National Alliance or the party’s board. «I just asked Gaidis if he would agree to candidate for the Riga mayor’s post, and he wasn’t enthusiastic about the idea,» Dzintars said emphasizing there is still time until municipal elections.
Harmony Centre, the current power party in the Riga city council, is expected to win more than 50% in the upcoming elections. The main topic of pre-election campaign will probably be nationalistic issues.
To prevent victory of Harmony Centre in the Riga city council elections next year, right-wing centrist parties Unity, Reform Party, National Alliance and Green Party have started informal consultations on possibility to make common election lists in Riga, Pietiek.com reported in April.
BNN already reported that, given the Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis and Justice Minister Gaidis Berzins’ different views on the property restitution to Jewish religious and community organizations, Berzins stepped down late on Wednesday, June 20. He explains the move with political pressure to lobby the issue.
On Wednesday afternoon, sources close to the National Alliance implied that the Jewish property restitution issue may lead to major changes in the government already this week. Berzins’ resignation now proves that behind-the-scenes talks on the possibility that it will be exactly the NA that will shake the government were no rumour. NA members have informally informed Pietiek.com that the party might indeed have been promised the post of Economy Minister.