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Friday 23.03.2018 | Name days: Mirdza, Žanete, Žanna

Vilks: Unity is starting to resemble UGF

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAccording to former Finance Minister Andris Vilks, the largest party in the coalition, Unity, is changing: its strongest politicians are ‘either in Brussels or underground’ and the party’s ideology is crumbling, as reported by

Unity «is no longer the party I had once joined. It’s starting to resemble something like the Union of Greens and Farmers: the ideology is crumbling in attempts to maintain fiscal discipline and we see a rise in populism», said Vilks in his interview to Rīta Panorāma programme of LTV.

He added that most of Unity’s strongest politicians are either in Brussels or chased underground. Those that remain have no choice but ‘to accept or refuse the rules of the game’.

Vilks also said that Valdis Dombrovskis’ government had collapsed because Unity was against letting UGF join the coalition for too long.

«I am worried that we may be changing our political ideology,» – said Vilks, warning about the growing populism and risks for fiscal discipline. He admits that Finance Ministry can oppose populism for a long time. Nevertheless, it puts at risk everything Latvia has accomplished up until now by reducing budget deficit.

As it is known, ministries and state institutions have compiled and submitted their newest political initiatives to the Finance Ministry for the next year’s budget worth approximately EUR 547 million. Requests for the 2017 budget reach nearly EYR 782 million and those of 2018 – EUR 1.15 billion.

In accordance with estimates of Fiscal Discipline Council, the government will have to secure consolidation worth nearly EUR 114 million when preparing the 2016 budget.

As it is known, Vilks had previously said that the ‘system’ had basically forced then the Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis to leave and take responsibility for the terrible tragedy in Zolitude.

«The main reason was to get UGF in the government. The crisis ended sooner than expected and we were able to exit recession much quicker. On top of that, [Aivars] Lembergs’ large influence in Latvia’s politics meant that UGF could no longer remain in the opposition. That was the main reason,» – said Vilks in his interview to Ir magazine.

He believes the people behind Dombrovskis resignation are in the government coalition. «UGF needed to enter the government with its work and ministries when the economy was in a state of growth and when the elections were close by. I believe it was disrespectful toward the person who has done so much for Latvia,» – added Vilks, who decided to exit politics shortly after Dombrovskis resignation.

BNN had previously reported that the Zolitude tragedy was likely used by Aivars Lembergs to ensure political advantage. On November 21, the roof of Maxima supermarket collapsed onto its customers and on November 22 the sitting of Ventspils City Council lacked three key figures – Lembergs and two deputy-chairmen of the Council Jānis Vītoliņš and Guntis Blumbergs – as if gone to Rīga.

Unofficial information of the BNN indicates that Lembergs, taking advantage of the tragic accident, had decided to bring down the government in order to involve the Union of Greens and Framers (UGF) in the next cabinet. It is said that he has taken part in consultations with representatives of the Office of State President Andris Bērziņš, possibly, with head of President’s Chancery Gundars Daudze and head of state himself.

This means that the reason why Bērziņš used harsh language to describe the Zolitūde tragedy as a mass murder is likely to have been a plan to provide ground for further steps of ousting the government and not concern over disorder in the construction industry.

Perhaps, if Bērziņš would really wish to put the state in order, he would also ask accused persons and persons standing before trial to leave public office until court judgement has been pronounced.

On Wednesday, November 27, the meeting between the President and the Prime Minister, after which the latter announced his resignation from office, lasted for an hour and a half and it can be perceived it was the head of state who called on the Prime Minister to assume political responsibility for the tragedy. «Everyone, who has been involved in taking all the crucial decisions, should evaluate his or her political and moral responsibility and should decide how to act further,» the President said, perhaps forgetting himself in this aspect.

Members of his party, together with Lembergs’ «For Latvia and Ventspils» party, were in 2009 among the legislators who voted for the dissolution of the State Building Inspection that is currently pointed out as the reason why the cabinet should have resigned.

«Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis and President Andris Bērziņš enter the press room. Resentment cannot be hidden in the PM’s face. The tone of voice and the actual text of the announcement acknowledge this. It seems the words do not come from Dombrovskis himself, he only voices them. «Taking into account the Zolitūde tragedy and all its aspects, a government is needed that has the support of the Saeima majority and that is capable of solving the situation, which has developed in the country,» says the Prime Minister who had insisted in a recent television interview «someone should work as well.»» Such description of the event following the meeting was provided by the daily «Latvijas avīze».

Finally, it must be explained how come it is so easy for Lembergs to control State President Andris Bērziņš almost as a puppet to serve his whims. When Bērziņš, being a member of the 10th Saeima, was elected the state president, rumour had it that this had happened with the support of Lembergs. Bērziņš himself said at the time that before running for the office he had discussed this issue with Lembergs. The latter, some say, also influenced Bērziņš’ stepping down from the leadership of the bank Latvijas Unibanka (currently under the name of SEB).


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