Latviski English По-русски
Monday 17.02.2020 | Name days: Konstance, Donats

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

(No Ratings Yet)

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.

Leave a reply

Saeima deputies put off vote on final MPC system report; say more time needed

On Monday, 17 February, Saeima’s Parliamentary Investigative Committee for Mandatory Procurement Component System did not vote on the final report. Approximately thirty minutes were spent discussing the fact that not all members of the committee have had an opportunity to study the latest redaction of the document.

Latvia’s president presents no plan for Misāne matter after meeting with heads of institutions

After meeting with representatives of the management of responsible institutions on Monday, 17 February, Latvia’s President Egils Levits did not present a clear action plan for Kristīne Misāne’s situation. However, he did stress the importance of civil activity, including the rising role online petitions.

Rubber stretching. 11th anniversary of Aivars Lembergs’ trial

Rubber stretching is a process that supposedly progresses but yields no benefits to anyone except the person doing the stretching. This allegory can be used to describe Aivars Lembergs’ trial, which has continued for 11 years.

101 applications submitted for project on preservation of cultural and historical heritage

A total of 101 applications for a total amount of EUR 1.68 million have been received for Riga City Council’s announced tender, as reported by Riga City Council chairman’s advisor Baiba Gailīte.

FKTK chief: Latvia has earned the right to avoid being «greylisted»

Latvia has earned the right to avoid being added to Financial Action Task Force «grey list», said the head of Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission Santa Purgaile in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Monday, 17 February.

Latvian government signs new contract for Latvia’s pavilion in Expo 2020

The government has signed a 1.4 million euros worth contract for the construction of Latvia’s pavilion at Expo 2020, which will be held in Dubai, as confirmed by Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro

Eurostat: Latvia’s GDP growth reportedly below average in EU in Q4 2019

When compared to the same period of the previous year, Latvia had a lower GDP than the average in the European Union in Q4 2019, according to data published by Eurostat for 20 of the union’s countries.

Signature collection for a referendum on municipal snap election regulations fails

According to provisional results from the Central Election Commission, it has not been possible to collect enough signatures to initiate a referendum over Saeima’s approved changes to municipal snap elections regulations.

Denmark plans to have Latvian citizen Misāne handed over to South African Republic

On Friday, 14 February, the Danish court ruled not to release Latvian citizen Kristīne Misāne from custody. In the South African Republic the woman is accused of kidnapping her own child, as LTV was informed by Misāne lawyer.

Week in Lithuania: retailer Maxima got in trouble, Turkish firm’s assets frozen, New Agency set up

Lithuania's concessions provided to the Polish business group Orlen, operating an oil refinery in Lithuania's Mažeikiai, have helped to improve bilateral relations but were not the key element in their thaw, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said this week.

BNN summary of the week: Levits urges protecting officials. Riga City Council toppled. Tax changes planned

The BNN gives you a summary of the key events of the past week, told in news stories of the following topics: Serious signals; Perseverance; Dismissal; Tax changes; Media supervisors; Inflation; Slower over the bridge and Belief protectors.

Prime minister orders development of proper government MPC monitoring rules

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš has ordered Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro to immediately commence work on a new mandatory procurement component monitoring project and submit it as soon as possible to ensure efficient control over the system, as confirmed by the prime minister’s office.

1 700 medics infected with coronavirus in China; six dead so far

More than 1 700 medics in China are confirmed infected with the new coronavirus. Six of them have already died, as confirmed by healthcare officials.

Number of foreign guests hosted in Latvian places of accommodation up 1.6%

2.85 million foreign and Latvian visitors stayed at Latvian tourist accommodation establishments in 2019, which is 1.6 % more than in 2018. Compared to the previous year, the number of nights spent by visitors increased by 2.6 %, reaching 5.51 million in 2019.

Experts approve Riga Central Station’s Rail Baltica regional train reception solution

A solution has been found to install a four-lane railway section at Riga Central Railway Station to replace the existing two-lane section. This will help secure not only international and airport connectivity for Rail Baltica trains but also further improve intercity and suburban train services, as reported by the project’s representatives.

Beness Aijo asks Vladimir Putin for political asylum; claims Russia has released him

Beness Aijo, who fled Latvia to avoid criminal prosecution for calls of a violent overthrowing of the government, has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to provide him political asylum. He also claims Russian authorities have released him from custody.

Share prices plummet on stock markets over concerns for coronavirus

On Thursday, 13 February, share prices around the world plummeted as concerns over the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic in China. London Stock Exchange index declined shortly after British Finance Minister Sajid Javid’s sudden resignation.

Saeima to add considerable amendments to Criminal Procedure Law

On Thursday, 13 February, Latvian Saeima approved amendments to the Criminal Procedure Law that provide the duty to provide truth in testimony if a person uses the right to testify.

Week’s end in Latvia will be snowy, rainy and windy

Strong wind, which may reach a speed of 25 m/sec along the coast, is expected at this week’s end in Latvia. Air temperature, however, will remain mostly unchanged, as reported by Latvian State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

National Alliance and New Unity may run in Riga City Council elections separately

Following the decision made by the New Conservative Party to run in upcoming Riga City Council snap elections separately, a similar decision will likely be made by the National Alliance «All for Latvia – For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK» and New Unity.

Airbnb and Vilnius sign «historic» agreement, taxmen to zero in on short-term rentals

Long chastised for little regulation, Airbnb, a popular short-term rentals platform, was praised this week in Lithuania after capital city Vilnius and Airbnb inked an agreement, envisioning that from February 1 onwards Airbnb will automatically collect Vilnius city tourism tax due per night and per person and transfer the sum directly to the City of Vilnius on behalf of hosts.

Latvian parliament dissolves Riga City Council

The Saeima has decided to dissolve Riga City Council. The city council remains active, however, because the law on its dismissal will come to force the next day after its promulgation. Now President Egils Levits has ten days to make his decision on the promulgation.

Tallinn residents reject proposal to limit driving speed to 40 km/h

Residents of Tallinn have rejected mayor Mihhail Kõlvart’s proposal to limit driving speed within city limits to 40 km/h, forcing the municipality to look for other ways to control road traffic speed, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.

Journalists Kalderauska and Eglītis approved as members of National Electronic Mass Media Council

On Thursday, 13 February, Latvia’s Saeima approved journalists Ieva Kalderauska and Jānis Eglītis as new members of the National Electronic Mass Media Council.

European Parliament urges putting an end to illegal pet trade

To protect animal welfare, pet owners and public health, the European Parliament urges the European Union to come up with an action plan to put an end to illegal pet trade, BNN was informed by EP press-secretary in Latvia Jānis Krastiņš.

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