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Sunday 18.02.2018 | Name days: Kintija, Kora

Running from the wolf, Reform Party with Bondars in front may run over the bear

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Martins Bondars

Publicly, this will look like a collectively made decision, one ex-banker Martins Bondars agreed to on the Monday’s evening meeting of the Board of Reform Party (RP). The actual decision, to welcome Bondars to the party, giving him the rights to participate in Board meetings and becoming a candidate for the post of Mayor of Riga – has long since been made. Now, it looks more like pulling a bear from a magic hat, not a response to RP’s collective decision about necessary change.

It is predicted that this decision will cause a fire within RP and Saeima faction. Nonetheless, it will not delay the making of the decision. It is also possible that the way these changes will be brought up could make some members even more distant, including minister Edmunds Sprudzs, whom Bondars heavily criticized on the political backstage, Pietek reports.

“I found out about the possible future leader of the party from the media. I am getting used to it. But should we really take this as a norm?”, said RP Saeima faction official Inga Bite on her Twitter account.

“Everything is planned ahead, the Board has been circumvented. Neither the Board of the party nor the faction discussed him. Meanwhile, the media already has the decision about Bondars voiced and ready. The so called core people are in a hurry to offer public support. All this prepares the soil to make sure it is impossible to turn down Bondars’ candidacy,” – an RP official unofficially commented. It is unlikely that there will be any significant obstacles on the way.

It is often said in the party itself that such a tactic is used to reduce speculations and make the decision making process easier.

Even though the party’s Board is the highest decision making institution during meetings, most of the Board members are not informed about Bondars inclusion among the leaders of RP. Before the beginning of the Monday meeting, Board members had only one issue on the day’s agenda – discussing important issues. However, most of the members already knew the detailed scenario – that Bondars will announce his joining of RP and receive the right to participate in Board meetings. Lately, the mass media has been creating the impression that Bondars is the party’s last hope.

Bondars’ ambitions and his special role in the party is already set. What is apparent is that he allows himself to criticize RP and specific leaders – especially Sprudzs, with whom the party went on its first elections as the candidate for the post of Prime Minister. According to Bondars, Sprudzs has no place among RP ministers, several sources told the portal the same in similar words. Sprudzs is often criticized and is not always careful in his public statements, but he managed to make one of RP’s ideologically important decision since the formation of the party – the order about the dismissal of oligarch Aivars Lembergs from the post of Mayor of Ventspils.

When Prietiek informally asked about Bondars’ plans to join RP last week, some associate of Bondars said: “Is this a joke?” Bondars’ possible range of acquaintances and comrades is more likely to be had by someone who is part of Einars Repse’s formed association of rich businessmen. Similarly to his friends Aivis Ronis and Maris Riekstins, Bondars was classified “orange” in the past. The portal knows that Bondars is among this associations most sought assets. It was recently considered on the backstage of politics that this association is Bondars future, should he decide to get involved in politics.

On the other hand, during the years he spent managing then the President Vaira Vike-Freiberga’s chancellery, Bondars formed close relations with the president’s advisor – currently one of the key figures of RP, Sandra Sondore-Kukule. RP hopes that Bondars’ joining will also bring the favour of the ex-president. It was not without Bondars’ support that it was concluded on the Economists Union 2010 (he is a member of the Board) that RP economic program was the best among all other parties. Bondars was offered to join RP then as well. But he declined because of family matters – his father was very sick at the time.

Now it seems that information about Bondars’ activities in the Board of Vladimir Antonov’s Latvijas Krajbanka could surface. And even though Unity is RP’s coalition partner and it is said that Right Wing parties should not act against one another, so that Harmony Centre does not win, in reality, both parties act as competitors.

RP representatives claim that the risks of black PR are calculated, but are taken calmly because “there is nothing to dig up”.

Bondars was Chairman of the Board of Krajbanka for three years – June 2006 to August 2009. Afterwards, he spent more than six months as a member of the Board until April 14, 2010. . Bondars was appointed to this post along with Vladimir Antonov. The composition of the joint stock company reflects the will of its owners. The most common opinion as to why Bondars was chosen to work in the Council and the Board is because he had a good reputation and status as the manager of the Presidential Chancellery. “Bondars played the Latvian in Krajbanka,” – political and business societies describe Bondars’ role in the Board of the bank.


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