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Ceturtdiena 24.08.2017 | Name days: Boļeslavs, Bērtulis
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Riga Mayoral candidate: Armands Krauze – the “working bee”

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Armands Krauze

Armands Krauze

The proposed mayoral candidate from the Union of Greens and Farmers is one Armands Krauze – largely unknown to the residents of the Latvian capital. He has no prior experience in city management. This is probably the reason why he easily gives pre-election promises that are very hard to implement in reality.

Based on his career and political allegiance, Mr Krauze would be more suitable for rural economy, not city. He is a beekeeper and a gardener by education. He also holds a Masters degree in agriculture. Krauze is a long-term Chairman of the Latvian Beekeepers association, which shows loyalty to his profession. He was deputy Chairman of the Agricultural Organizations Cooperation Council. He even resigned from his post as Saeima official in 2010, so that he would be able to defend the interests of Latvian farmers in Brussels as a member of the European Economics and Social Affairs Committee. However, his success can only be measured based on his own words. According to him, it is the achievement of the team that he was part of that the European governments could finally hear the plea of having direct payments to farmers reach 90%. Nevertheless, he adds, “we are not the ones to create the law”, as if declining to have any responsibility. Number show that there are no signs of Mr Krauze’s achievements. Latvian farmers still receive the least across the EU – 90 EUR per 1 ha.

As it is, Mr Krauze is a lot like “the quiet student”, who will forever be in supporting roles. He has not been involved in any loud scandals or large failures, but nothing is known about his successes as well. Even the Chairman of the party’s parliamentary faction – Augusts Brigmanis – was not too enthusiastic about Mr Krauze. “He has experience in social, organization and practical work”, – he said, without explaining the type of experience. “Furthermore, Mr Krauze is a native Riga resident. He knows the city and its problems”, – Brigmanis added.

It seems as though UGF has chosen him simply because there were no other fitting candidates. Mr Krauze’s only advantage seems to be the fact that he lives in the capital, not a rural region.

The range of issues he plans to resolve as the Mayor of Riga demonstrates the knowledge of the capital’s weak point: reconstruction of kindergartens using EU money; reducing the queues in pre-school education facilities; free public transport services for people registered in the capital; offering help for Riga residents in solving their utilities problems; renovation and maintenance of residential homes; real estate tax discounts (70-90%) for entrepreneurs that create jobs and employ disabled people. All this is undoubtedly needed. However, a big negative sign of Mr Krauze’s pre-election campaign is that he only speaks of expenses. He does not say where the city is supposed to find money on such large-scale social programs.

But this appears no longer interesting after seeing the data of his annual official’s declarations. According to these papers, Mr Krauze, in spite of his work at the Finance Ministry, Agriculture Ministry, Latvian parliament and Brussels, remains a person with modest earnings: such people are more likely to prefer socialism. He has an apartment in Riga and land with forest in Krimulda Region. From the moment of filling in the information of the declaration for the year 2000 as an employee of the Sanitary Border Inspection of Food and Veterinary Service he has acquired four (pretty old ones) cars, some capital shares at Riga Shipyard and Latvian Bridges. From October 2011 to October 2012, his salary was slightly above 7 thousand LVL, while his debts exceeded 22 thousand LVL.

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