Latviski English По-русски
Ceturtdiena 12.12.2019 | Name days: Otīlija, Iveta

BNN interview | Zatlers about Saeima’s dismissal: coalition’s silence may have a tragic end

(No Ratings Yet)

snap elections, Saeima, coalition, opposition, public opinion, Saeima dismissal, important, recommended

Ex-President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers

If coalition parties, including Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, stay silent, it could have a tragic end. They should not have to comment on signature collection campaign for the dismissal of 13th Saeima but instead look at the reason used by authors of the signature collection campaign for propaganda – healthcare, said ex-President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers in an interview to BNN.

According to Zatlers, the current Saeima is able to make decisions. This means there are no reasons for the parliament’s dismissal. «The main reason why snap elections are held in many countries is that parliaments are unable to make some important decision, such as approve the state budget.»

Only a couple of weeks have passed since the Saeima approved the state budget for 2020. Zatlers believes the fact that five parties, all with different opinions, were able to reach an agreement in regards to the budget is proof enough the parliament is capable of making decisions.

As for complaints about doctors’ wages, Zatlers stresses: «The government was not yet fully composed when the decision was made, and everyone voted how they saw fit. This is a great example of why we need a coalition with a majority of votes and an opposition that criticizes them. If everyone votes as they see fit, chaos appears, which needs organizing. At the time of the vote it seemed right [to vote in favour of raising doctors’ wages]. It is impossible to implement, because no one knew if their party would enter the government.»

«This is something Saeima deputies and voters have to understand – that there are side-effects and negatives from three months [without coalition and opposition in the Saeima or the government].»

«This was not the only unclear vote – how can people vote without anyone taking any responsibility. If you look at all the parties that voted in favour of doctors’ wages and whether or not they are in the government, you will see this is not the case.»

Full information on voting results can be found here.

Zatlers says: «It is not right to demand responsibility from this government and majority coalition for a vote, however unreasonable, that was made with good intentions. The responsibility should be with the people who claim to support the idea of Saeima’s dismissal.»

«The opposition’s argument that the coalition has cheated voters is unjustified,» says Zatlers. According to him, the opposition needs to understand that they have to carry responsibility for the Healthcare Financing Law, too, – «you cheated yourselves».

Nevertheless, Zatlers stresses that coalition parties and the prime minister should start conversing with doctors and patients, not wait for the signature collection for the Saeima’s dismissal to die down and have everything remain the same. The government needs to act wisely and reduce tension from healthcare problems.

«He is a loser»

The number of collected signatures is the first wave of people who are disappointed in the parliament. And this is the way they express their opinion about the Saeima. «The majority of people convinced of the need to dissolve the Saeima have already given their signatures. The wave will soon calm down, and from there it will be harder to convince people that the Saeima’s dismissal is needed,» says Zatlers.

Commenting on the leading authors of the initiative and supporters of this idea – Igors Lukjanovs aka homeless party member, Normunds Grostiņš, Aivars Lembergs and Aldis Gobzems – Zatlers says these people have a need to stay popular to feed their egos.

Latvia’s ex-president also says: «I have always said that our citizens’ intelligence should not be underestimated – people think about their country. They think what to do next, they try to understand. It is not like they’ll start torching homes immediately or anything like that. This simply will not happen.»

As for one of the most motivated and scandalous supporters of the idea to have the Saeima dismissed – Gobzems – Zatlers stresses that he will be accurate and cynical in his assessment. «He [Gobzems] is a loser who tries washing off his failure at any price. Because of that, he is no longer considered mature in politics. Who is to blame for that? He is.» Zatlers believes Gobzems has been taken over not by the desire to fight for justice but the desire for power.

Commenting on Lembergs’ involvement in urging residents towards dismissing the Saeima, the ex-president believes snap elections would not benefit him – he would lose even more than he did in the previous elections.

The ex-president stresses – public thinking has changed and no one invites Lembergs to enter the big political tribune. Lembergs knows as much. This is why «even he will be careful, even for him this is the only or last chance.»

Zatlers says people understand enough – Lembergs’ court process is in a stage when it is difficult to delay even more. This is one of the factors that reduce the chances of his supporting party Union of Greens and Farmers to improve results in snap elections.

«The same for Harmony. They are fractured on the inside,» says Zatlers, «however the four so-called independent deputies in Riga City Council – they are the internal Harmony, which points to fracture. But will their voters truly support thieves just because they are familiar?»

Zatlers says that even though the Union of Greens and Farmers is in the coalition and Harmony in the opposition, the two parties were unified in their decisions behind the scenes. «Currently they are very close in the Saeima meeting hall, but we do not see any outstanding unity. They were much more active ‘under the table’. This unity was observed in Ridzene talks also. It was like this – let’s settle things together and be allies, but no one should see this.»

«Now when the opposition needs to cooperate in the Saeima, I see no efficient cooperation, because everyone looks to their personal interests. They are, a the end of the day, competitors,» says Zatlers, adding that this this will last for as long as parties will not decide sharing the pie again.

Take away another year and a half of experience

Zatlers stresses that people still thinking on whether to commit to Saeima’s dismissal or not have to understand: «We might have a new Saeima, but has anyone said how it will operate for about year and a half? We will simply take away another year and a half of experience. Do we need this in the long run? Voters have to decide and think before they commit with their vote.»

He also stresses – Latvia is based on democratic values. This is why the opposition’s desire to dismiss the Saeima is not the right tool for the ‘fight’. According to Zatlers, this is not a test for Kariņš’s government – it is a test for everyone.

Zatlers reminds – it is not like there is no new generation of politicians in Latvia. «A lot of young politicians entered the Saeima with the last parliamentary elections. However, we cannot demand experience from day one. If we look at the same deputies who just started their first term, they have already accumulated a considerable amount of experience.»

According to him, the current government in Latvia is no worse than the last one, and the Saeima is not worse with the laws it approves. «It is simply that we always have the feeling that the grass was greener in the past.»

The ex-president stresses: «We have to understand the current Saeima is a parliament that runs on experience.» The parliament works and gains experience as it does. This helps the Saeima forge a stable political generation capable of understanding how a country should be managed.

Leave a reply

  1. Anna says:

    That’s no true. Majority of latvians know how it works in Latvia.

Ministry: to prevent damaging Latvian sports sector’s reputation, Lembergs should leave LOK

To avoid letting US sanctions negatively affect Latvian Olympic Committee and spread to the reputation of the country’s sports sector, the ministry can only ask Aivars Lembergs step down as member of LOK Executive Committee, BNN was told by Education and Science Ministry.

Budget Committee declines residents’ request to postpone increasing funding for parties

Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee has rejected a public initiative signed by more than 11 000 residents. This initiative requested postponing the planned increase of funding for political parties.

Lower election threshold in Lithuania – more democracy or chaos?

The Lithuanian legislature, Seimas, has lowered this week the parliamentary election threshold to 3 per cent for political parties and 5 per cent for coalitions.

Russia expels German diplomats, retaliating to German step over Berlin murder

Russia has asked two diplomats of the German Embassy to leave the country. This is a tit-for-tat measure after Germany declared two Russian diplomats personae non grata as Berlin investigates an international murder in the German capital, TASS reported.

Riga Freeport and Liepaja Special Economic Zone to leave LTAB

Riga Freeport and Liepaja Special Economic Zone will leave Latvian Transit Business Association managed by Aivars Lembergs, as both are subjected to US sanctions.

Lembergs’ influence over Ventspils Freeport needs to end, bank supervisors say

The goal of the US sanctions is reducing Aivars Lembergs’ economic and political influence over Ventspils Freeport and other companies under his control. Sanctions are not meant to paralyse companies, rather seeing how they are used to process deals influenced by the person under sanctions – Aivars Lembergs, said Finance and Capital Market Commission head Santa Purgaile during a press-conference on Thursday, 12 December.

USD 25 million offered in Weinstein sage to 30 alleged sexual abuse victims

In the U.S. movie industry scandal surrounding sexual abuse claims against film producer Harvey Weinstein his lawyers have offered a USD 25-million settlement to more than 30 women, The Guardian reports.

Legal Affairs Committee supports lifting judge immunity for administrative violation cases

Saeima’s Legal Affairs Committee supported prior to the second reading legislative drafts to the Law on Judicial Power and Law on Judges Disciplinary Liability intended to lift the immunity of judges in administrative violation cases, as confirmed by Justice Ministry.

Estonian-Finnish gas interconnection unveiled

Estonia and Finland have held ceremonies to unveil the gas pipeline Balticconnector, built to connect the gas transmission networks of both countries separated by the Baltic Sea.

Mārtiņš Kazāks officially becomes governor of the Bank of Latvia

On Thursday, 12 December, Latvia’s Saeima officially approved Mārtiņš Kazāks as the new governor of the Bank of Latvia, as BNN was told by Saeima’s press-service.

What is Ventspils Development Agency and what will its members do now?

Among the organizations against which US Department of Treasury Office for Foreign Asset Control has adopted sanctions is also Ventspils Development Agency. In accordance with OFAC issued Global Magnitsky General Licence Nr.1, global partners have 30 days to cease all cooperation with this organization.

Israel on way to third parliamentary election in year

Israeli legislators have been unable to overcome a prolonged political crisis. The Knesset has given its initial approval to the third parliamentary election in the Middle Eastern country in a year’s time after legislators proved unable to form a majority coalition.

Social Integration Fund torn over NGO support priorities

Although sides of the Social Integration Fund have argued over priorities of the Non-Government Organizations Fund, the contest to start using funding allocated to NGOs may yet be announced this year, allows Social Integration Fund council member and Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš’s representative Imants Parādnieks.

EC signs von der Leyen’s European Green Deal toward 2050 climate neutrality

The European Commission has signed off new leader’s plan to make Europe the world's first climate neutral continent. The European Green Deal envisages net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Committee supports amendments that allow electing city council for longer

Saeima’s Public Administration and Local Government Committee has decided to support law amendments to allow electing Riga City Council for a term longer than five years.

Finland ends EU presidency with call to take free AI course

Finland is opening up a wildly popular Elements of Artificial Intelligence online course to all EU citizens. The announcement was made in Brussels on Tuesday to mark the approaching end of Finland’s presidency of the Council of the EU.

Latvian ministers agree on general sea port management reform

On Wednesday, 11 December, during an extraordinary meeting of the government dedicated to allowing the state to take over management of Riga and Ventspils freeport, ministers agreed on the necessity to implement a general reformation of management at Latvia’s various ports.

FKTK proposes isolating Lembergs and companies under US sanctions

Finance and Capital Market Commission invites financial market participants to refrain from providing financial services to suspended Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs, as well as companies and institutions applied with US sanctions, FKTK reports.

To take over Riga and Ventspils port government to form a separate company

On Wednesday, 11 December, the Cabinet of Ministers decided at an extraordinary meeting to invite the Saeima to add amendments to the Law on Ports to accommodate the plan for the government to take control over Riga and Ventspils freeports.

Estonia health body calls for measles vaccination of Ukrainian guest workers

Estonia’s health authority has issued a recommendation to employers working with Ukrainian guest workers to ensure the vaccination of their personnel against measles, pointing to critical situation in Ukraine.

In UN Court: Myanmar leader calls Rohingya genocide claims incorrect

In the International Court of Justice, Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been rejecting claims that her country’s military has been involved in allegations of genocide.

Family doctor visits may become more expensive for some residents in Latvia next year

Patient fees might increase or reduce next year. The latter may include more expensive family doctors visits: some residents may have to pay EUR 2 instead of EUR 1.42. The patient fee for specialist consultations will reduce.

20% of Riga Central Station design work for Rail Baltica is complete

Nearly 20% of Rail Baltica project’s design work on Riga Central Station has been completed. Construction company Bererix has closed off territory, railway, underground areas and other infrastructure for topographical and measuring work, as reported by Rail Baltica project’s representative Linda Vītola.

Fire in Tartu turns tragic to family

After a fire in Tartu, a family of five has been found dead, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports.

Forecast: UK snap election to be won by Johnson’s Conservatives

In the United Kingdom’s snap elections, called to resolve the Brexit crisis, the victory of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is forecast by British sociology centre YouGov.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!