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Ceturtdiena 22.03.2018 | Name days: Tamāra, Dziedra

Saeima elections: grains and chaff

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWhen casting votes in the 12th Saeima elections it is highly important that residents make the right choice, especially considering the growing concerns about the situation in Ukraine and the possible escalation in Baltic States.

Because elections will likely decide which direction Latvia will be facing – either east or west – popular people and experts urge residents not to be naive and trust empty promises, but assess each candidate based on his or her accomplishments.

Refreshing the memory

«I urge people to think and not be embarrassed or offended by the government’s actions. All people living in Latvia have one big value in common – Latvia, which was achieved through sweat and blood. With a pessimistic attitude [deciding not to vote] we will surely lose it. Elections are the power granted to the people and this power should be used appropriately,» – says poet Māra Zālīte. «Decision not to vote cannot be excused morally or politically… I ask Latvian citizens to understand that we are in a serious political position. I hope this will encourage people to vote. It is our duty,» – she adds.

There is chaff among the grains

Initially having problems with deciding which of the three potential candidates – Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs, Defence Minister Raimonds Vejonis and Welfare Minister Uldis Augulis – to name as the party’s official Prime Minister candidate, Union of Greens and Farmers has decided to select the criminally accused Aivars Lembergs. Either the breath of competitors on the back of their heads or belief that all voters are idiots allows this party to once again select a Prime Minister candidate who will likely have to leave abruptly during all government meetings to attend court sessions in which he is the main suspect and leave meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers whenever confidential topics are discussed.

What also should be taken into account is Lembergs attitude towards NATO and the presence of NATO in Latvia. In this regard, it is also important to keep in mind his rather colourful statement about NATO in his interview to media resources that are supported by Kremlin. He compared the possible increase of NATO presence in Latvia to a military occupation, not unlike the one Latvia experienced in 1940. He had also mentioned in his interview to Russian media that NATO bases have no place in Latvia, because they allegedly threaten Latvia’s national security.

Kremlin project

UGF and its most illustrious member are not the only political figures Kremlin takes a liking to. Aside from the obviously friendly Latvian Russians’ Union, there are also Harmony Centre and Inguna Sudraba’s No sirds Latvijai.

«I had once believed the former state auditor Inguna Sudraba could become a breath of fresh air in Latvia’s political life. Now I see this breath is fake,» – says foreign affairs specialist Edvins Inkens.

According to him, Sudraba’s strange decisions, including the registration of her movement [No sirds Latvijai] in a questionable apartment, demonstrates that the person in charge is not a professional and does not know how such things are done properly. «Sudraba was promised enough money to form a party and afford a pre-election campaign. She has done nothing over the past year; she has no team,» – Inkens said in an interview to Klubs magazine.

It seems as though Sudraba is followed by an unfortunate chain of events even in spite of frequent consultations with astrologists and numerologists. Here she publicly faints during her own press-conference after hearing that the government has been dissolved, then she is caught having dinner with Ainars Slesers, businessman Druvis Skulte and co-owner of Liepaja market Atis Sausnitis. Now she flies to Moscow on a private plane with the father of a Russian spy and then visits a healing centre that popularizes Vladimir Putin. In spite of the party’s short life, it has been abandoned by several well-known figures.

Poet Māra Zālīte notes: «I cannot take this party as one that is necessary for Latvia. I cannot believe lies can be so big. Lies are told all the time, and this party in particular – all lies, big and small. Its position is also rather populist. I simply do not believe this party; there are too many suspicious elements.» She adds that many people have called this party «Kremlin’s project».

Recent activities of Harmony also speak for themselves – signed cooperation agreements with the Chinese Communist Party and the ruling party in Russia – United Russia; political technologists from Moscow train activists from HC; actively have representatives of the Russian State Duma take part in HC congresses, mystical donations to the party, Ushakov’s correspondence with Russian spy Aleksandr Hapilov, etc. After the unexpected failure during the European Parliament elections, HC obviously fears not acquiring enough support from voters to propose Nil Ushakov as its candidate for the post of Prime Minister of Latvia.

Politologists have expressed doubts that any of the three leaders of the aforementioned parties – Lembergs, Ushakov and Sudraba – will even be provided with access to official secrets and lead the Cabinet of Ministers.

Reputation attacks cause enormous waves

It is said that anything goes during war. If this is true, the current pre-election fight has created waves like never before seen in Latvia. In terms of blackening one’s reputation, United for Latvia, No sirds Latvijai and Harmony have been involved in ‘intense fighting’. A good strategy to use in the fight for votes would be Citadele Bank, the selling period of which coincided with the pre-election period in Latvia. One might ask – just where were all these shouters and protest organizers before? Why didn’t Ushakov gather people for protests before the elections? The answer is quite obvious – it provides a good opportunity to spice things up during pre-election period and use this painful matter against his political competitors – the current coalition parties.

Another option

If voters decide to cast votes for ‘old’ parties that remain in power at the moment, it is important to keep in mind which of them can overcome the 5% barrier and enter the Saeima. According to results of a public survey by SDTIC, 18.7% of respondents plan to vote for Unity, 15.4% – National Alliance and 11.3% – for the Latvian Association of Regions.

The suspicious aversion TV3 apparently has for LAR makes one wonder about media sources that are able to influence the minds of voters. For example, portal is closely related to HC – Chief Editor of the party’s ‘Tava Rīga’ magazine Nils Saks is also a journalist for Jurgis Liepnieks, HC’s political technologist with articles that appear supportive of HC and pro-Russian views, often publishes his materials on In one of his summer posts on Twitter, Ushakov is seen on a photo with Liepnieks and title ‘together with Harmony’s new head of election headquarters’.

Lato Lapsa is also known for his attacks on Unity and National Alliance and his generous attitude towards Uskahov, Janis Urbanovics and Harmony Centre in general. He has even released a newspaper ‘Vienotība. Pietiek!’ [Unity. Enough!]. Lapsa admits that the publishing and printing costs of this newspaper exceed 30,000 lats. This means that creating at least three or four other printed magazines would cost more than 100,000 lats. One might ask where does Lato Lapsa, who had once been in the Council of the Russian Telegraf newspaper, finds funding?

According to head of SDTIC project Director Dana Valuškina, these Saeima elections will definitely go down in history as some of the most talked about. Survey results confirm this – the majority of voters have trouble deciding which party to vote for. There is a strong sense of belief in society that these particular Saeima elections will form Latvia’s future. Latvia’s national values and national unity are being used in different slogans by different parties more so than in any other Saeima election year.


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