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Monday 20.01.2020 | Name days: Aļģirds, Orests, Oļģerts, Alģis

Aivars Lembergs' «candidate/non-candidate» circus

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Aivars Lembergs

In his interview to newspaper Diena, Aivars Lembergs, who remains accused of serious crimes, implied that may or may not stand candidate in the next municipal elections in Latvia. However, considering the regularity with which this single-actor «candidate/non-candidate» and «I will be prime minister/will not be prime minister» theatre has been on tours since 2006, his most recent political performance is unlikely to be particularly trustworthy, according to regional media

Performance No.1

Prior to 9th Saeima elections, Lembergs asked the court to speed up review of his case against the Office of the Prosecutor General over withdrawal of offensive information that was mentioned in the official request for legal support sent to Switzerland. Lasting uncertainty over the outcome of the case could have potentially impacted his rating among residents and could have reduced his chances of being elected. The Office of the Prosecutor General had refused to withdraw the aforementioned information and instead raised charges against Lembergs for bribery, money laundering and violation of restrictions imposed on an official, reports.

On the day charges were presented the Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS) decided Aivars Lembergs would become the party’s prime minister candidate.

However, Lembergs said he would not stand candidate in 9th Saeima elections. After Aivars Lembergs’ detainment in 2007 and imprisonment in Matīsa prison, then the Prime Minister of Latvia Aigars Kalvītis said: «If this situation is serious, Lembergs will not be able to participate in Coalition Council meetings.» The media notes the situation remains serious to this day and yet Lembergs and representatives of this party continued taking part in the Coalition Council’s meetings for a long time.

Performance No. 2

«Prior to 10th Saeima elections in 2010, Lembergs, so to speak, continued blowing dust in people’s eyes about his potential candidacy. His biggest doubts about candidacy are related to the belief that he is fit more for work in executive power, not the Saeima. While he added that it was not set in stone, ZZS’ Latvia’s Green Party picked him as their prime minister candidate,» reminds

Read also: Exclusive | Valentīns Kokalis details secret talks held in Lembergs’ hunting lodge and backstage political puppetry

But Lembergs did not participate in elections. It is possible that the reason for this was the lack of support from the Saeima for his proposal to allow politicians keep municipal and Saeima mandates, the media allows.

What followed later are well-known events – then the President Valdis Zatlers issued Order Nr. 2, with which he organized a referendum to dissolve the Saeima, and the people dubbed the event the «Burial of Origarchs».

Performance Nr. 3

Meanwhile, Lembergs publicly admitted that if the people had not dissolved the Saeima, he could have stood candidate in the 11th Saeima elections. Even this time Lembergs announced rather quickly that he would not be a candidate to work in the Saeima, but he would be a prime minister candidate from ZZS. When asked if his reputation is good enough to become a candidate for the post of Latvia’s prime minister and if ZZS does not mislead voters by naming Lembergs as their candidate, whose candidacy is unlikely, the suspended mayor of Ventspils said his reputation is good, writes.

Performance Nr. 4

The media also says partners of Lembergs’ party were no longer as enthusiastic in supporting him as their candidate in the 12th Saeima. «The Green Party announced it would not be acceptable to pick Aivars Lembergs for the post of prime minister. In the end, ZZS did pick Lembergs for the post. He justified his candidacy by bashing the government – that it is complacent and that its declaration’s stated activities are not being implemented in required amounts. The situation after elections turned out rather interesting – ZZS received 21 seats in the parliament, Laimdota Straujuma from Unity [now known as New Unity] became Latvia’s prime minister and ZZS representative Raimonds Vējonis became Latvia’s president. There was room to manoeuvre on the political arena. Perhaps Lembergs could have become Latvia’s prime minister. Only – did he want to?»

As Ir Magazine wrote at the time, citing the infamous «Rīdzene talks», Lembergs may have joined the election campaign when ratings of other parties started to grow, whereas ratings of ZZS started to go down. «I was afraid of going all in – we may win there, but what would I do after? Ah, the hell do I need this!»

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