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Friday 18.08.2017 | Name days: Liene, Helēna, Elena, Ellena, Liena

Politologist: the new government may already be two steps in the past

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn spite of her long career in the country’s agricultural sector, Laimdota Straujuma is a ‘dark horse’ of Latvia’s politics – it is hard to predict what to expect from Straujuma if she is selected by the President to form the next government, says politologist Iveta Kažoka.

She noted that only speculations are possible right now, because there are two unknowns in the equation. This first unknown is Straujuma, whose previous decisions and actions provide no clear insight into her independence as decision maker. Secondly, it is unknown what could happen if the President selects her as Prime Minister. ‘Many parties may receive many different promises, but when the nomination is in hand, old agreement may end up overlooked and we may expect a few surprises along the way,’ – said the politologist.

She also says that according to the Constitution, the Prime Minister candidate is the one who selects ministers. Therefore, a lot depends on the candidate’s own feeling of independence and his or her ability to form a team. ‘The unfortunate thing about Latvia’s political environment is that our Prime Ministers tend to be dependent on the will of other parties,’ – she concluded.

Agriculture Minister’s decision to join the party is unexpected, because it was initially assumed she would be a non-party candidate. As a non-party candidate Straujuma would have more pull in regard to the formation of the new government. However, much depends on decisions of the President and the subsequent reaction of other parties.

Kažoka added that an odd situation has resulted from the President’s recent actions – if the President decided to show signs of leadership after the Zolitude tragedy and present terms for different political processes in the country, he should play a bigger role in the candidate selection process and develop principles to manage the formation of the government, not entrust such processes to political parties and merely observe and judge the process.

‘There have been reports recently that the potential composition of the next Cabinet of Ministers may shock political parties and society, because the minister selection process does not follow the principles of moving forward and developing. Those principles do not contribute to change, they propose conservation. And they seem to lack any signs of long-term sustainability. It does not sound like an attractive offer. It sounds more like a few steps back into the past,’ – Kažoka believes.

The politologist notes that Zolitude tragedy has an important context in all this, as does Valdis Dombrovskis decision to resign after the tragedy and the expected formation of new parties. If the government ends up being formed prior to elections, it will likely focus on conservation, not positive change. This would benefit newly formed political forces – those led by Inguna Sudraba, Einars Repše, Jāņis Bordāns and parties that have been in the opposition until now, said Kažoka.

If Straujuma acts independently in the post of Prime Minister and offers a convincing composition of the Cabinet of Minister with a clear plan of actions, it would mean a lot for Latvia’s political environment, says the politologist. It would be rather hard and risky for political parties to decline a well-structured offer of the Cabinet of Ministers, because that could result in new parties appearing on the stage.

She added that the political initiatives of the National Alliance and Union of Greens and Farmers will likely be similar – conservative and with no real change to them.


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