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Saturday 19.08.2017 | Name days: Melānija, Imanta

Riga mayoral candidate. Guntis Belēvičs: bull in a china shop?

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Guntis Belevics

Guntis Belevics

Guntis Belēvičs, the Latvian Greens Party candidate for the mayoral position of Riga, describes himself as a successful businessman who doesn’t need anything, for he has all. In other words, he has reached a state, in which he can fully devote himself to serving the society and development of Riga.

Let us not belittle Belēvičs’ achievements in business, he has really established two leading pharmacy chains in Latvia – Saules aptieka and Mēness aptieka -, as well as the biological deer breeding farm Zemitāni. In politics, however, he still reminds of a bull in a china shop.

His first attempt to serve the society was by joining the political party of Par Labu Latviju! (For a Good Latvia!), which was soon labelled as an informal millionaire club. He was asked to leave the party, however, after a public announcement that education should be paid for, starting from 7th grade. Belēvičs came forward with this offer during the 2012 national elections. One must be either very brave or not the sharpest knife in the drawer to scare people with an idea of paid secondary education amidst a severe economic crisis.

Belēvičs stopped here. After this attempt, he sought to gain the support of sexual minorities. «To my mind, there is no doubt – gay and lesbian marriage should be permitted» he noted in an interview to the daily Latvijas Avīze. Apparently, this was a calculated move – according to statistics, 5-10% of Latvians have an unconventional sexual orientation. Therefore, with the help of these groups one can overcome the 5% barrier of the necessary popular support for entering Saeima. That year, political fortune turned its back on Guntis Belēvičs and he has now decided to try his luck in municipal elections.

This year the businessman is more moderate and has not come forward with shocking offers. Quite the contrary, Belēvičs, in line with the green ideas of his current party, has promised to provide three meals a day for all schoolchildren. Latvian farmers will supply eco-products for this goal. Considering that Mr. Belēvičs is himself an owner of a biological farm, one cannot avoid the thought that the participation in elections is a part of a marketing strategy aimed at finding a new market for his products, namely, schools and nursery schools. Lunch will be free of charge for children, but not to the City Council.

Educational institutions will most probably have to purchase foodstuffs from farmers and here Belēvičs as a businessman will have vast business opportunities. Therefore he is slightly hypocritical, when claiming the materialist world is foreign to him and that he only cares about the interests of the society.

In an interview to the weekly Sestdiena, he unveils that he wishes to enter politics for the benefit his granddaughter, who lives in China with her parents. «Of course, we can be proud with our children, who succeed in the world, by using their education, but that’s a pride with a tear in my eyes – if you see your grandchild only on Skype, it’s a bad way to spend your old age. I want to get them back.»

In this case, it is not clear, why this care about the children of Riga and their comfort is limited only to free meals. And why is Mr. Belēvičs certain that his, evidently, highly-paid children will return to Latvia only to get free meals at school.

Mr. Belēvičs has other creative ideas. For example, he plans to acquire the funding necessary for the development of Riga from the production of lifts and house heat insulation materials. Why does he think that these are the activities that might be interesting to private companies working in the capital? Discussing faster attraction of investment for the needs of the capital, he plans to «shake» money out from municipal companies and to save money, by organising reasonably the municipal procurement.

In his web site (, the mayoral candidate writes: «I have accomplished as a scientist, a businessman and a family man. I want to go further. I wish to apply my knowledge and experience for the overall prosperity, to contribute not only to my family and pagasts, but to the whole of Latvia.»

This is where his skills of reasonable spending should be discussed. According to the data from Baltic Screen, Mr. Belēvičs was among the largest real estate owners: he owned 47 land lots with a total area of 2,414 ha. In 2010, his name could also found in a list of most heavily indebted businessmen: his mortgage debt alone exceeded 6.15 million lats. Currently, his children are the owners of almost all of his property.


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