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Saturday 23.06.2018 | Name days: Līga

Skudra: Berzins and UGF fought for the presidential post to the last

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULooking at President Andris Berzins decision not to participate in presidential elections in Latvia, Professor Ojar Skudra of the University of Latvia believes both Berzins and the Union of Greens and Farmers have fought to the last in hopes of securing a second re-election.

Skudra believes the ‘final straw’ was the announcement by Harmony that they would rather see Maris Riekstins in the post of President of Latvia.

The expert believes UGF should present an announcement in which they recognize their candidate’s decision to refuse participation in presidential elections and what they intend to do in the near future.

«It would be naïve to believe UGF does not have a different candidate in mind,» – said Skudra.

He adds that Berzins did not mention any real accomplishments as President of Latvia in his announcement. Basically, Berzins said there had not been any noteworthy economic breakthrough during his presidency. Nevertheless, Berzins mentioned that he believes he has helped with Latvia’s exports, adds Skudra.

Berzins does not mention any reasons why he has decided not to participate in the next presidential elections. Skudra says this can be interpreted as Berzins’ personal decision. Skudra adds that the President avoided speaking of support from UGF and potential support from the Saeima.

«Berzins’ announcement is a great political card – he is an elusive middle way walker,» – said Skudra, adding that this announcement was just as murky as Berzins’ entire term.

Looking at the perspective for development of the current situation with presidential elections in Latvia, Skudra noted that none of the currently announced candidates can hope to acquire an absolute majority of votes in the Saeima. With that, talks with potential candidates may be «started from scratch».

It is important to know the model of candidate selection. Skudra is certain that it would be worth organizing debates prior to elections, said Skudra. Otherwise it would not be democratic at all.

Politologist Janis Ikstens says Berzins’ decision not to compete for re-election is well-thought through. This decision can even be considered patriotic in these troubling times.

Ikstens added that he would like to thank Berzins for this patriotic decision, as it seemed that this post is too much for Berzins. «There had been plenty of speculations and rumours about the next presidential candidate. There had not been any talks about candidates during the times of successful presidents. With that, it is respectable when politicians voluntarily decide to leave,»- said Ikstens.

When asked who could serve as a worthwhile candidate in his opinion, Ikstens noted that he is not prepared to speculate on such topics. Nevertheless, the politologist adds that «Berzins has prepared a clean table for political parties, so the game can begin from square one».

Ikstens says one of the main keywords for Berzins’ presidency is Zolitude tragedy and the collapse of Maxima supermarket, as this event symbolized Berzins’ decisiveness even though his image at that time was that of a confused an laborious official. After Zolitude tragedy, however, his actions took on quick and decisive tone to them. In general, Ikstens has concluded that Berzins’ presidency was largely clumsy and hesitant.


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