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Tuesday 20.03.2018 | Name days: Made, Irbe

Sprūds on Latvia’s President: sitting in Gazprom or Rosneft lodge in mid-March is inadequate

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe future composition of Latvia’s government and Latvia’s President will depend on this year’s elected Saeima. Because Latvia’s Saeima is the one who elects the President of the state. Whether or not Berzins will remain in his post will depend on the new Saeima.

During an episode of Sastrēgumstunda programme of LTV, there were many opinions voiced about Berzins’ achievements and failures. Politologist Ivars Ījābs noted that Berzins is capable of fulfilling his obligations on a constitutional level. However, he did mention Berzins’ problems when communicating with others. Journalist Baiba Strautmane, who was the one to write a letter with a request to evaluate Berzins’ remainder in his post, mentioned that she is forced to question Berzins’ continued ability to remain in his post. She explained this by mentioning multiple questionable statements the President has made during his term. For example, as a result of the resignation of the government led by Valdis Dombrovskis, which was influenced by Berzins, in a time ‘when it is vital to speak up, explain, to be seen and noticed, we have a Prime Minister whose international prestige is not even close to that of Valdis Dombrovskis . We also have a Defence Minister [Raimonds Vejonis] who is now forced to apologize for the opinion of his party’s spiritual leader [Aivars Lembergs] in regard to NATO’.

Andris Spruds – Director of Latvian Institute of International Affairs – also voiced his insight in regard to the President of Latvia. He said it is no longer about the President’s weak or medium oratory skills, but more about the contents of his speeches.

‘March has changed the core of the problem – March is no longer about representative, March is no longer about how we represent our country. The month of March has changed the stakes; priorities have changed; the situation around Latvia has changed. These changes include Russia’s aggression, sanctions of western countries against Russia. Even Latvia remains in question. It is now a completely different situation. I would say Berzins cannot keep up with it,’ – said Spruds.

‘When government is in the midst of discussing sanctions, sitting of lodges of Gazprom or Rosneft in the middle of March is inadequate in the sense that there may be sanctions introduced against Gazprom or Rosneft the next day,’ – he continues.

He also expressed concerns over next year’s presidential elections. ‘The combination we now have – Prime Minister and President – is not too representing for our country to manage the EU,’ – he admitted.

Saeima deputy Augusts Brigmanis, whose party Union of Greens and Farmers proposed Andris Berzins to as a candidate to become Latvian President, says President Andris Berzins is a person with his own opinion, and there is no point in hoping he would change.

‘Andris Berzins is a person with his own opinion and a certain degree of contrariness to his character. If someone hopes he might change, as a person who knows him I can say that will not happen. He had said that in the past – accept me the way I am,’ – said Brigmanis.

A commentator of Neatkarīgās Rīta Avīze, Elita Veidmane, also participated in debates. What is notable about her is that ever since her appearance in the newspaper, there has not been a single comment containing criticism about Andris Berzins or Aivars Lembergs. When asked if Andris Berzins is truly a leader that is capable of being ‘a crisis manager’, the journalist replied that every person has his or her character points. She added that there is no crisis manager in the government, parliament or in the President’s Chancellery.

When asked if she sometimes feels uncomfortable when watching the President’s public speeches, the journalist said ‘maybe he does not know how to properly behave on public’. When asked if three years was not enough time to learn how to behave in public, Veidemane said, perhaps, the failure of Berzins’s public representation lies in his habit of avoiding cameras.

Veidmane said she ‘can talk with him as though with a regular person without cameras’. Strautmane, on the other hand, mentioned: ‘One thing is learning to speak properly, in a comprehensible manner. A totally different thing is trying to communicate properly when you have good pronunciation and speech pattern, but no clear thoughts in mind. This is the real problem.’

Throughout the programme, there were multiple opinions and solutions voiced in order to make sure the process of selecting a new President is much more convenient and careful. Andis Spruds said a President of the state should be a skilled professional in state management, be an efficient representative and hold high authority. He believes political parties cannot possibly agree on choosing one strong representative. This is why they often decide to approve a compromise figure; one that would satisfy most of them.


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  1. Ilmars says:

    The problem of having weak and corrupt leaders is that they are useless in a crisis.
    Things in Ukraine are going to get worse , and Latvia needs need real leaders – not oligarchs, thieves and russian puppets.
    If Berzins doesnt resign , then the Saeima should meet and kick him out. The obvious replacement is Iniese Vaidere , who was the only politician to who stood up for her country.

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