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LAR leader: maths mercilessly played its role in 13th Saeima elections

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«Latvia has a lame duck government at the moment. While the newly-elected politicians are struggling with forming a new government, Kučinskis’ government continues doing all the actual work. This means the people who fight oligarchs [with their indecisiveness] also support the government hey criticize as being a government of oligarchs,» says leader of Latvian Association of Regions Edvards Smiltēns.

«Of course, Kučinskis’ consolation may be the fact that even though he lost elections, he did get the honour of addressing the country at the centenary as its prime minister,» said Smiltēns.

Nevertheless, the main problem, according to the politician, is that pressure in the public sector will only increase the more Latvia exists without a new government. This is especially true for the shortage of wages in the healthcare sector. «There are many such examples. Right now it is clear the next European Parliament will decide on the multi-year budget. This is an immensely important episode for Latvia. We have to outline our interests and positions. There are also many other international matters in need of resolving and which require stable mandate – an absolutely clear, decisive and backed by parliamentarians.»

«It is clear the Saeima is paralysed. No legislative work is performed there.»

When asked how Smiltēns views ongoing government formation talks, he said it has been a long time since such a situation had been observed in Latvia. «I have been in three Saeima compositions. I have also taken part in government formation processes. Usually the first government formation talks are organized on the next day after elections. Since the 13th Seaima elections, however, deputies have had a whole month’s worth of time discuss the process and find common ground – to agree on Saeima’s coalition and committees. This is when normal work for the Saeima starts. What we see now is that the parliament is basically paralysed. No legislative work is performed.»

He says there are approximately 150 legislative drafts ‘on hold’ in the Saeima. «We have a government formation process that commenced but did not make it to the vote in the Saeima, which is to my mind the first case since 1995. With that, the situation is very complicated.»

According to Smiltēns, the arrogance of political leaders, their objections and desire to see differences in others are to blame for the slow government formation process. «Such behaviour is short-sighted and unwise.»

The politician says it is unacceptable to hold failure to form a government against Latvia and compare it to Belgium, which spent several years without a government, or even Sweden, which has been locked in government formation for a long time. «This is not something to be proud of – that we have finally reached the level of the west.»

As for the possibility of organizing emergency elections in Latvia, Smiltēns says such discussions exist all the time. «I think NCP and KPV LV could hope for increase of mandates in the event of emergency elections.»

He believes emergency elections would not be good for the Union of Greens and Farmers, «because the level of trust is in decline for them». «Elections would not benefit Unity as well, because they had barely made it to begin with – they might not make it again. Nothing would change for the National Alliance. Attīstībai/Par! might get some votes at New Unity’s expense. Emergency elections would benefit Harmony, because it has been a long time since they’ve had such poor results,» says Smiltēns.

It should be said that Latvian Association of Regions failed to overcome the 5% barrier in 13th Saeima elections. When asked if emergency elections could help his party enter the Saeima, Smiltēns said: «We have an opportunity to organize emergency elections, considering the crude violations of the Constitution that were used against our party. Elections were unfair.»

He says on 19 October his party received a verdict from the court allowing them to contest results of the 13th Saeima elections. «Our party has not decided what to do yet. We are thinking about the possible consequences of this.»

Maths mercilessly played its role in elections

Commenting on the situation why AP wants to include UGF in government formation when leaders of two other parties say ‘no’ to this, Smiltēns said AP fears allowing KPV LV or NCP dominate the government.

Smiltēns said that initially AP’s policy was that they were against UGF. Smiltēns adds this was their first act of misleading voters.

«Maths mercilessly played its part in the recent 13th Saeima elections,» says Smiltēns. He believes there are now two political blocks. One consists of KPV LV and NCP with 32 votes. The other is AP, NA and NU with 34 votes, or 45 votes with UGF. «Neither block is able to form a government on its own. Any attempt to form a minority government with Harmony will fail. I think society is not ready to allow Harmony participate in decision-making processes.»

Smiltēns believes the old ‘scheming policy’ has existed for a long time. «I think parties should put aside their differences. Parties should look for commonalities instead.»

Smiltēns believes New Unity’s tactic is staying down in this situation. «Of course, there’s also playing to NA and AP – their mutual agreement is obvious. But hey play a double game, preserve their ratings by saying they are not associated with the failure of Bordāns’ government formation.»

When asked about Latvia’s next prime minister, Smiltēns said it should not be someone from the side. «Society has given a mandate of trust – it is the correct method for picking the next head of the government. If the prime minister is picked from the side, and it is someone not mentioned in prior discussions, it seems might odd, I think.»

The second factor he mentioned was that Latvia’s prime minister should be someone calm and composed – someone capable of putting bringing order to the chaos in the country and finding common ground with other people.


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