bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Monday 26.06.2017 | Name days: Inguna, Inguns, Ausma, Ausmis

Former Saeima deputy: Lembergs - not a player in elections

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Klavs Olsteins

Residents expect from the political parties ability to act, which is sometimes lost in political arguments and fight for posts. People are sick and tired of these fights within and among parties, Klavs Olsteins, the former Saeima member, who quit the political association Unity (Vienotība) to join Zatlers Reform Party, told the business news portal BNN. Moreover, he forecasts Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs will be no player at all in these elections.

What outcome do you forecast for the leading political parties. Which ones will cross the 5% threshold?

It will definitely be Harmony Center (Saskaņas centrs), Unity, Zatlers Reform Party, All for Latvia/For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK (Visu Latvijai/TB/LNNK) and Greens and Farmers Union (Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība). These parties are already in politics but the Reform Party will join them. Sociology data show the new political force is to take away the most of votes from the Greens and Farmers.

The idea is that the next government needs to be free from oligarchs and people in both politics and business at the same time. This is one of the key challenges of the next elections.

However, parties need to come up with progressive ideas as well. Latvian economic development lags behind Estonians and Lithuanians, so we need to think of ways how to change this with the help of possible tax cuts to create friendlier environment for the economy and business. Unemployment issues should be tackled as well and Latvian goods should be sold in both the eastern and western European markets.

Export should account for the basis of economic growth, so we need to think of ways to operate on export markets and be competitive. Similalry, our higher education establishments should be among the top 10 in Europe or top 50 in the world.

Which parties will be in the most severe fight?

Unity, Zatlers Reform Party and All for Latvia/TB/LNNNK could make up the majority in the Saeima. It means these parties could form the government as well. Such a political standpoint is the right one. The question whether to attract also the Harmony Center is topical but only with the principles named by Zatlers – they recognize Latvia occupation fact and Latvian as the only official language.

Zatlers Reform Party is for a people-elected president. Do you believe people of today are knowledgeable enough to take part in such an important t process as presidential elections?

I was once skeptical about that as well. But the recent presidential elections proved if Aivars Lembergs would have wanted to become a president, he would have done that regardless what the people think of him. Moreover, Lithuania with its semi-presidential system and other countries’ practice shows this argument is not that crucial. I believe people are clever enough to choose the best president for the country. Lithuanian Grybaskaite proves that.

Why is Latvia dropping behind other Baltic states in economic development?

The crisis hit the most severe exactly in Latvia due to Parex Bank breakdown and the fact it was mostly the domestic market that boosted the economy before the crisis. The economy was based on consumption. Today, the economy has found another profile and we break export records every month. Historically, this now marks a major turning point, as the domestic consumption has been changed to external one.

Do you blame politicians for the downfall?

Only those who do nothing – do not make any mistakes, but politicians need to act in order to take fast, clear and viable decisions. This is the greatest issue of today’s politics, because the ability to act is lost somewhere in bargaining over posts.

To give an example, we knew about airBaltic financial problems already two years ago. And the Transport Minister Uldis Augulis has been witnessing these problems for a year now. We need this national company airBaltic in order to be in a more privileged position that Estonians and Lithuanians. However, we cannot allow these problems being stalled for such a long period of time. Brand stolen from airBaltic, if I can say so, still has not been recovered. The company now has only its name, while all the money has been transferred to subsidiaries. It is a huge problem that the state as the major shareholder in the airline is not able to replace such a manager as Bertolt Flick. Practically, criminal action should be brought against him.

Are there any other soaring points of the Latvian economy?

It is Ventspils Nafta (Ventspils Oil) with an oil flow from Russia but taxes being paid here. There is little left now from the once flourishing company of great importance to the economy and it is all thanks to a single man. This is again mixing ambitions, politics and business.

There is also Latvian Shipping Company (Latvijas Kuģniecība), once a profitable company with thousands of employees. After an agreement between oligarchs – Andris Skele and Aivars Lembergs – it as privatised and emptied. The company has just recently started to recover in the hands of other shareholders.

Can Ventpils Mayor Aivars Lembergs recent statements about Zatlers change voters’ choice?

Lemergs is already acting as a loser, as he has started to humiliate women, for example, the TV host Baiba Sipeniece – Gavare. Such behaviour is not worthy of a man and it looks like he is not going to to play any role in these elections. I believe Zatlers is the only one who can show Lembergs his place.

Have voters’ expectations changed after the so-called oligarchs case and Zatlers call for the Saeima dismissal?

For sure, because over 700 people have expressed their support for Zatlers Reform Party in a couple of days time. This is the start of a never-before-seen social movement.

Why do businessmen and the society distrust political parties as such?

This distrust was also one of the reasons why Zatlers wanted to dismiss the Saeima. On the one hand, there were 60% new faces in it, on the other hand, an extremely low proportion of the society supported it. Constant fights were also one of the reasons for this. People are sick and tired of these fights within and among parties. Also Unity was bargaining over posts within itself, moreover, also people saw it, despite they care neither for posts nor positions but jobs, the economy being on the right path and Latvia ranking among the top 5 European countries, instead of rounding the list up as it is today.

Don’t you fear the people could vote in one of the oligarchs, for example, Lembergs or Slesers?

I believe, the people are much smarter than that.

What changes would you like to see in the Latvian legislation?

The Constitution needs fundamental changes, including a people-elected president. The next Saeima should approve a Convention, similar to a Constituent Assembly, and work on reforms to the Constitution so that it can stabilise the political environment in Latvia. The Saeima being dismissed is also a parliamentarian crisis. The old government should be overthrown only when there is a possibility to appoint a new one.

Another possibility is giving away with the parliamentary immunity. It is enough with these privileges. Who needs that? Some deputies with criminal pasts? Constitutional changes is not a matter a half a year, it is rather for the next three years, as the Constitution is outdated and calls for fundamental reforms.

What is your vision about Latvia in five years? What is going to change during the next Saeima?

The next three years should set an aim of Latvia ranking among the top 5 European Union countries, due to its well-arranged educational system with its graduates being able to develop both Latvian science, the next generation and also business.


Leave a reply

Opinion: Latvia is behind other countries both politically and economically

«Unfortunately, often the desire of our politicians to defend national interests is on par with that of the American president in relation to activities of Russian hackers. When two transit companies asked the government to compensate income of EUR 8.3 million lost because of the government’s stance on Ventspils Freeport’s involvement in Nord Stream 2 project, those businessmen were immediately called shameless,» Dienas Biznes journalist Egons Mudulis comments the situation with Nord Stream 2 project in Latvia.

Trial against Yanukovych suspended in Ukraine

A court in Kyiv has suspended the trial against the former President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, over state treason charges. Kyiv Obolonskiy district court, Yanukovych's lawyers opposed the petition of state prosecutor Ruslan Kravchenko on the application of special judicial proceedings in the case in the absence of Yanukovych from court.

First share trading platform opens in Baltics

The first share trading platform in Baltic States – Shareswall portal – has officially opened.

Harmony comes to power in Daugavpils

With a majority of votes, Harmony’s candidate Andrejs Elksnins was elected as chairman of Daugavpils City Council on Monday, 26 June. This means this party is now in charge of two of Latvia’s largest cities.

Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian satellite launched to space

Lituanica SAT-2, a satellite developed by scientists of the Vilnius University and NanoAvionics company, was launched to space on a rocket from India on Friday, June 23.

Employers: to increase wages, tax rise must not be allowed

«Social and cooperation partners have taken active part in the development of tax reform guidelines. Nevertheless, the ruling coalition is taking its time with making this important decision. On top of that, the ruling coalition is ignoring opinions from employers and employees,» say Latvian Employers' Confederation.

Residents of fire unsafe London blocks asked to move out

Following the tragic London fire, local authorities are asking residents of fire unsafe tower blocks to move out, despite resistance from some residents.

LOS: chopping down trees while bird eggs are still in nests is intentional murder

Estimates presented by Latvian Ornithological Society show that every year more than 50,000 bird nests are destroyed by logging every year.

37.34 million euros – costs for inter-institutional information exchange

The costs of information exchange among state institutions are estimated around EUR 37.34 million, as stated by the State Chancellery.

Entire week expected to be rainy in Latvia

This week’s weather is expected to be volatile in Latvia. Air temperature this week will not exceed +25° C, according to the forecast from the State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Italian government bails out two banks for billions of euros

The government of Italy has intervened in the country’s commercial banking system to bail out two vulnerable banks for a total of 5.2 billion euros.

BNN summary of the week: Latvia’s tax reform progress and gas pipeline project fights

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Decline; Future; Truth and Growth.

Real estate purchase «pain threshold» in Latvia – EUR 100,000

In relation to the possibility of purchasing a new home, Latvian residents view EUR 100,000 as the «pain threshold». The critical border for new project apartments is 1,300 EUR/m2. For standard apartments it is 1,000 EUR/m2. For private homes it is 1,600 EUR/m2, according to results of a study by PrivatBank.

Lembergs & Co. gathered to discuss «problems» of the high and mighty

Political businessman Ainars Slesers held a friendly discussion with his associates – Aivars Lembergs, Andris Ameriks, Janis Urbanovics, Janis Duklavs and Valerijs Kargins – at Ridzene Hotel. The group discussed toppling Valdis Dombrovskis’ government, replacement of multiple high-ranking officials and the possible sale of pieces of land within Riga Freeport’s territory, according to transcripts from the conversation published by Ir magazine and provided by anonymous sources.

Lithuania set to limit cash payments to 3,000 euros

The Farmers and Peasants-led Lithuanian Cabinet has approved a draft bill envisioning restrictions on use of cash, limiting the kind of settlements up to 3,000 euro.

Saeima establishes indexation increase for pensioners with high seniority

On Thursday, 22 June, Latvia’s Saeima approved Social and Employment Matters Committee’s prepared amendments to the Pension Law in two readings, ensuring greater pension indexation for multiple pensioner groups next year.

Romanian Parliament ousts Grindeanu government

The Romanian government of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has not survived a no-confidence vote and has fallen after less than six months in power.

Rail Baltica agreement will allow trains to travel at 240 km/h

Saeima of the Republic of Latvia will soon ratify Rail Baltica agreement, which is expected to allow passenger trains to travel at a speed of 240 km/h instead of 120 km/h. Higher travel speed will also ensure cargoes from Tallinn reach Poland within two days.

Mamikins: Latvia is becoming a landfill for rich European countries

A very large fire took place at an illegal landfill in Jurmala this week. According to information from the State Environmental Protection service, the fire had engulfed 23 tonnes of waste, mainly plastic waste, says Latvian MEP Andrejs Mamikins.

Latvian businessmen use e-commerce opportunities for business development

With e-commerce volumes growing around the world, Latvian businessmen use it more and more often for business development, including exports of goods and services. As noted by DPD, the number of packages sent to foreign countries grew 22% last year.

Latvia wishes to change its state president’s election process

Reviewing proposals to change the state president’s election process, Saeima’s Legal Affairs Committee decided to submit proposals developed by the work group to different Saeima factions for review, as BNN was informed by Saeima’s press-service.

Coalition parties close to making final decision with tax reform; no more obstacles

Coalition parties no longer have any more differences of opinions in regards to tax reform principles. Parties are close to making the final decision, said Economy Minister Arvils Aseradens after the meeting with Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola.

Saeima plans to introduce personalized voter cards

For next year’s Saeima elections, voters who only have an ID card and no valid passport are planned to be provided with personalized voter cards.

Producer price level in industry up 0.4% in Latvia

Compared to April, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry grew by 0.4 % in May 2017. The prices of products sold on the domestic market increased by 0.3 %, whereas the prices of exported products grew by 0.5 %. The prices of products exported to euro area countries grew by 0.8 % and of products exported to non-euro area countries – by 0.4 %.

Opinion: local media in Daugavpils are corrupt

«Now that we constantly face new and more elaborate security risks, concerns tend to increase about the fight for people’s minds in the information space. This is why the bar for professional journalists should be held high. Baltic Centre for Media Excellence plays an important role in all this,» said chairman of Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee Ojars Eriks Kalnins after the meeting.

Most read

Most commented

Newest comments