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Will the 11th Saeima be «harmony center» of Lembergs and Urbanovich?

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

Aivars Lembergs (on the left) and Janis Urbanovics

Austrian information agency BNN (Baltic News Network), which manages bnn-news.com, bnn.lv and bnn-news.ru, keeps launching new products on the Baltic media market. Following the investigative journalism research “Inhabitants of the capital of Latvia becoming hostages of money bags”, which started off the new information agency genre in the Baltics, BNN now takes up regular publication of extended analysis.

The first of them studies the relationship of the politic association Harmony Center and the Greens and Farmers Union as well as coordinated actions of their leaders Janis Urbanovich and Aivars Lembergs. The analytic article “Will the 11th Saeima be “harmony center” of Lembergs and Urbanovich?” will be published on BNN sites on September 13.

Having compared German sociological surveys conducted by Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK) with Latvian ones by the marketing and public opinion research centre SKDS, BNN analysts have come to believe that GfK data is far from reality. SKDS, whose forecasts have been coming true for many years already, estimates that Harmony Center together with Greens and Farmers Union will gather 27.4% of votes in total, while GfK gives the tandem as many as 54% of the votes. BNN notes that, unlike SKDS, GfK is not taking into account voters who have not yet decided or about not to take part in the elections. Based on this, BNN is not ruling out that such sociological tightrope-walking is designed to convince citizens that they need to vote for the winners – Harmony Center and Greens and Farmers Union. But such a position is highly questionable.

On analyzing the personal qualities of the leaders of these political associations – Janis Urbanovich and Aivars Lembergs, the agency highlights their huge experience in influencing masses. They learnt this during professional work in responsible positions in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in manifestation of authoritarianism in the leadership of their political structures and in sophisticated struggle against their political opponents.

However, these policies have long been carried out with coordinated action, which the public space hardly speaks about. This research presents numerous arguments to suggest that the dismissal of Prosecutor General Janis Majzitis, who launched prosecution of Lembergs on suspicion of serious crimes against the state, and non re-election of ex-President of Latvia Zatlers, who initiated the struggle to curb the influence of local oligarchs, were the result of coordinated action of Harmony Center and Greens and Farmers Union. Lembergs and Urbanovich could be standing behind all of this. In addition, the article provides evidence of possible false statements of these politicians.

Upon studying activities of people from the environment of Urbanovich and Lembergs, BNN analysts have concluded that the Saeima members from Ventspils Dace Reizniece-Ozola, Gundars Daudze and Jānis Vucāns have been carrying out Lembergs intention to put the current President of Latvia Andris Berzins under his influence. While Greens and Farmers Union deputies Iveta Grigule and Aivars Dronka have been providing support from the part of deputies from other factions to the possible Lembergs politic intentions. BNN assumes that in the course of time the reputation of The Man from Puze (Puze – Lembergs property 30 km from Ventspils) could creep behind President Berzins back.

BNN believes Lembergs and Urbanovich’s coordinated activities started off with the municipal elections in 2009. It turns out that having criticised Lembergs anti-national actions in their pre-election campaign, Harmony Center tripled its representation in Ventspils City Council, but none of Urbanovich’s party members voted against Lembergs being elected mayor. Moreover, of 85 issues on which voting took place during July 2009 to August 2010, Harmony Center deputies did not agree with the draft prepared by Lembergs party only 7-11% of cases. And when Harmony Center and Lembergs projects did not go through, Urbanovich’s messengers expressed friendly support to the proposals of their alleged political opponents.

The analytic BNN material includes data on Martins Lauva as the so-called “transmission belt” between the Harmony Center and the Greens and Farmers Union aka Lembergs and Urbanovich. The businessman, which can be found in the list of Latvian millionaires, was Harmony Center’s financial consultant. At the same time, unlike other candidates from Urbanovich’s party in 10th Saeima elections, Lauva had no problems at all in carrying out his campaign in Ventspils. As a representative of a political opponent party governing the coalition, which included the Greens and Farmers Union, Lauva received immediate government approval on cutting down pine trees in the dune area in Jurmala. And without getting into the 10 th Saeima, as a reward for his effort, Lauva was appointed chairman of Latvian Road Administration, in which Riga City Council owns 88.7% of shares.

BNN notes that Harmony Center and Greens and Farmers Union both voted for adoption of controversial regulations, which provide greater responsibility for the misuse of the Russian language and eviction of tenants whose house owners have gone bankrupt. Analysts at the Austrian information agency point out that Urbanovich’s public statements abound in reflection. First he announced that he would be the best Prime Minister of Latvia, then he named Lembergs as the best candidature, while afterwards claiming that their pre-election campaign can easily do without the charisma of its formal leader – Riga Mayor Nils Ushakov. Then it was announced that both of them Urbanovich and Ushakov would be Harmony Center’s prime minister candidates. Finally, he announced that exactly Ushakov would be the best choice for President Berzins. Lembergs in turn stated that Urbanovich would be the best prime minister.

BNN’s brief description of the politicians listed above suggests that Andris Berzins can hardly appoint any of them to form the government without international prejudice in terms of their reputation. Meanwhile, BNN also researches the situation where Inguna Sudraba, Auditor General, could run in the presidential elections from Harmony Center’s list but finally refused to do it. The news agency believes that it was because Sudraba was in no way ready to dance to the party leaders tune against the national interests. It is because Urbanovich’s power centers around the same as Lembergs’ – one faction, one party and one leader.

In the conclusion, BNN offers possible developments of politic games by Lembergs and Urbanovich hid below the name of the politic associations Harmony Center and Greens and Farmers Union. The research shows how voters can either use their votes in favour of these politicians who in turn can use them against the same voters. Or voters can choose alternative routes.


Leave a reply to Mjaa

  1. voter says:

    Oh my God…
    Dear BNN! It is not an extended analysis, but the most subjective article I have ever read.
    Bad journalism.

  2. Mjaa says:

    Awful. What a pair. The “least-selfish” of individuals…

  3. Goofy says:

    Is there only one honest politician in this country .I do not think so.

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