bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Tuesday 19.03.2019 | Name days: Jāzeps
LatviaLatvia

Levits: the state president must not serve as executor to any party

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU«The state president must not serve as executor to only one party,» believes Judge Egils Levits of the Court of Justice of the EU, adding that it is because of this reason it is so hard to find a president that would meet the requirements of all political parties. ‘The president needs to have sufficient metal capacity and authority to convince politicians about common state interests,» said the only presidential candidate to have had been publicly discussed by the ruling coalition in Latvia so far.

An open vote – a way to avoid political market

2019 is special because the next president in Latvia will be elected openly, and Levits calls this progress. «It can be surmised from the Constitutional system that the state president needs to be openly elected so that citizens know which parties and which deputies have voted in favour or against, especially considering that the election of the state president is a vital development for the country and it cannot happen in secret.»

When asked by BNN to comment on previous secret votes and whether vote trade was present there, Levits said: «This is how it’s been until now. I don’t think it would be an example of good political culture. Nor is this anti-democratic, because even the previous presidents were elected in a democratic process, which means their legitimacy is unquestionable. Nevertheless, there are many levels to political culture, and this [open elections] means we’re one level higher now.»

Speaking of government discussions and the support he has received so far, Levits said it is important for the coalition to have an agreed upon candidate. He added that the opposition can participate in the search for such a candidate. Otherwise every party picks its own and this is where political market comes to play – the state president’s seat is actively bargained in exchange for other posts.

«This is not right. From the state perspective it is good that there is an agreed upon candidate. It’s good that there is a candidate at least part of the opposition can support,» said Levits.

«Corruption in democracy is a cancer that needs to be surgically removed»

In relation to scandals and the situation in which Latvia is now, which includes the risk of being added to the grey list of Financial Action Task Force, Levits said the following: «This is, of course, negligence. I do not believe the amounts that flowed through Latvia did so in secret; that no one noticed. This is not exactly believable. It is far more likely banks and people who turned their gaze elsewhere received considerable benefits from this.» He says authorities have become stricter towards Latvia. «This [corrupt] system needs to be liquidated, and, as far as I’m aware, Latvian government is committed to shut doors for dirty money.»

Levits also believes only in rare cases economic crimes are possible without bribing officials. «These things are closely tied to one another. I should say corruption in democracy is like cancer that needs to be surgically removed.»

He adds: «It is important for the Prosecutor General’s Office to have some responsibility for the effectiveness of preventing crimes. There isn’t a single state institution that can work in a regime in which they answer for nothing. We can work quickly or slowly here, we decide how things are done and how specific decisions affect things. But there should be someone, some official who is responsible for maintaining effective crime prevention on all levels.»

Do court processes take longer in cases involving politicians?

Levits notes financial crimes and money laundering have a definite impact on Latvia’s prestige. At the same time, he stresses: «Latvia is a country ruled by law. I say this will full confidence and I can confirm this with the fact that we are in the European Union». He adds that countries not ruled by law cannot be in the EU. «If this was the case, EU would not have accepted us in 2004 or would have imposed sanctions against us.»

When asked if court processes take longer in cases involving politicians, Levits said while this does not happen in all cases, there is some correlation in certain cases. «It is what it is and this should not be the case. There are specific solutions that can help resolve this problem. We need political will here. As far as I’m aware, the slogan of the new government was – uncompromised rule of law – and I do support this.»

He believes Latvia does not have this kind of direct political influence. «Our courts are independent. There are procedural tricks at their disposal. Good lawyers use them for their rich clients and, quite possibly, politicians. These tricks are small and unnoticeable for an untrained eye. We have to put an end to them. This should be done in order for court processes to not take unnecessary amounts of time.»

Levits adds that in 99% of cases this is possible. However, there are also the scandalous cases covered by the press. These cases are often delayed, and this is unacceptable. This, on the other hand, creates the impression that Latvia’s court justice system does not work sufficiently well, says Levits.

He believes this negative example can be stopped entirely. «As far as I understand, our government is committed to doing just that.»

«The state president’s main role is seeing their country as clearly as a painting»

Currently Levits sees two main objectives for the government – liquidating legal flaws and improving education and science, because these two fields are engines of progress and ensure material welfare for all involved.

«The main role of the state president is seeing their country as clearly as a painting – with all the details and moments depicted therein. The president also needs to see the common good in the country,» said Levits, adding that the term ‘common good of the state’ is included in the Constitution.

He adds that while political parties in a democracy look at the country and its common good from their ideology, which is all good and correct, the state president is «the country’s institution that needs to observe the country as a whole and see the common good without referring to interests and ideologies of political parties».

An opportunity to contribute to become part of the world’s most developed countries

«I would like to see Latvia as a democratic and modern country that has many modern, effective, rational and people-oriented solutions. This applies to economy, culture and society as a whole. This especially applies to education.»

He believes that after thirty years of independence Latvia has existed in, everything the country has accomplished is solid. Nevertheless, Latvia should set a new bar to reach: become a modern country.

Additionally, Levits believes this is easier to do for Latvia than it is for countries with populations reaching hundreds of millions. «I would say our country could become something of a test site for the future, where we can try out solving problems associated with digitization and societal transformation. These are the matters we do not consider all that much but which gradually become more important for us, Europe and the rest of the world.»

«I believe we can contribute here to become part of the world’s most developed countries. This does not require major investments in ‘steel’, so to speak. We need investments in people to increase their capacity in education and science. These are the areas that help our country develop rather rapidly,» says Levits.


Leave a reply

Latvian prime minister urges sorting the system, not raising taxes

A number of sectors require reforms to avoid raising taxes to increase revenue, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš during a meeting of Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee on Monday, 18 March.

Stoltenberg calls NATO the most successful alliance in world history

NATO is the strongest, most successful alliance in history, wrote NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in an article dedicated to the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Heavy rainfall in Indonesia causes floods and landslides; death toll reaches 77

Approximately 77 people have been killed in mountain villages hit by floods and landslides caused by intense rainfall in Indonesia’s Papua Province, according to the latest information reported by Indonesian authorities.

Number of job vacancies in Latvia up 33.4% in 2018

In 2018, there were 22.7 thousand job vacancies in Latvia, which is 5.7 thousand vacancies or 33.4 % more than in 2017.

Swedbank: more than 1,400 Latvian families purchased property in regions last year

In 2018, Swedbank had issued more than 1,400 loans for property purchases within 50 km radius around Riga. This is an average of six loans issued every work day, as reported by Swedbank representative Jānis Krops.

Minister: Latvia may require radical image change because of finance sector’s problems

Considering the problems in the country’s finance sector, it will be necessary to work on radically changing the country’s image, says Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.

Riga Mayor’s wife suspected of dubious employed in public water supply company

For eight years Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs’ office manager Iveta Strautiņa-Ušakova worked as a consultant for municipal water supply company Rīgas Ūdens, as reported by LTV investigative journalism programme De Facto.

Latvian Centre Party to take part in European Parliament elections

A list of candidates compiled by Centre Party from Latvia has been submitted for European Parliament elections. The list is composed of fifteen candidates. This makes it the fifth list of candidates to be submitted for EP elections in Latvia so far, as reported by Central Election Commission.

Air temperature in Latvia to stay positive this week; more precipitation expected

Weather will be dominated by cyclone activity this week. Wind speed will also increase in the country’s western parts in the first half of the week. At the end of the week, air temperature to become chilly at night, as reported by Latvian State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Week in Lithuania. N-plant invites bids for repository construction contract

Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, which was shut down a decade ago and is now being decommissioned, invited bids for the construction of a 100-million-euro near surface repository for low and intermediate level short-lived radioactive waste.

BNN summary of the week: when is Brexit? Estonia’s government worries; more problems with Rīgas satiksme

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Attempt; Decision; Investigation; Scandal; Legislation; Expectation.

Suspect in criminal case leaves post in Alkom-Trans

SIA Alkom-Trans chairman Aleksandrs Krjačeks, who is a suspect in a criminal case regarding SIA Rīgas satiksme’s procurements, has decided to step down, according to information from Lursoft.

Eurostat: Latvia had higher annual inflation than average in EU and Eurozone

In February 2019, Latvia’s inflation was higher than the average in European Union and Eurozone, according to data published by Eurostat on Friday, 15 March.

Harmony and New Harmony to compete for seats in European Parliament

Association of parties Alternative Party, which received only 0.34% support from voters in the recent Saeima elections, has decided to start in upcoming European Parliament elections with a new name – New Harmony, as reported by Latvijas Radio.

ABLV Bank’s liquidators recover assets worth EUR 37.938 million in February

In February 2019, liquidators of ABLV Bank had successfully recovered assets worth EUR 37.938 million, which is 21% less than a month prior, according to the annual account published in Latvian Herald.

Polish Catholic church reveals mass child sex abuse by clergy

The administration of the Polish Catholic Church has stated it has since 1990 registered child sex abuse affecting 625 underage victims by 382 clergymen. Poland's Catholic Church authorities revealed the data on Thursday, March 14.

Insurer: children receive 11% more injuries during school breaks

During school breaks the frequency at which children receive injuries is 11% higher when compared to the year’s average, according to data from BTA Baltic Insurance Company.

Survey: one-fifth of Latvian residents do not protect their data on mobile phones

Although modern smartphones have several security options that help protect user data, results of a survey by Samsung Electronics Baltics show that 19% of Latvian residents do not use any of those data protection options.

Estonia's Ratas rejects Verhofstadt's opinion on coalition with anti-migrant party

Belgian member of the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, who heads the parliament's Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group, has urged acting Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas not to build a government coalition with the anti-migrant Conservative People's Party of Estonia.

Opinion: Baltic residents have cooled down towards Russian-Ukrainian conflict

Ever since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula five years ago it seems a ‘cooling process’ has begun among residents of Baltic States in relation to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, said University of Latvia researcher Mārtiņš Kaprāns in an interview to LNT programme Rīta Panorāma on Friday, 15 March.

New Zealand shaken by tragic terror attacks in mosques

40 people have lost their lives in New Zealand, where terror attacks have been committed in two mosques in the city Christchurch today, according to the country's government. The tragic events have taken place on Friday, March 15.

Minister: EC should not be allowed to cut financing to countries with low court independence

From the perspective of the European Union’s legislation and democracy, European Commission should not be given rights to halt funding only because EC thinks the rule of law is insufficient in some country, says Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.

EU's Tusk to call for long delay of Brexit

European Council President Donald Tusk has said he will invited to EU leaders «to be open to a long extension» of the Brexit deadline, if the UK needs to rethink its strategy and get consensus after it decided to ask for a delay.

Weather to remain rainy in Latvia; air temperature expected above 0° C

At the end of the week, a cyclone will approach Latvia from Scandinavia’s side, which will bring rain and wet snow to many parts of Latvia, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Latvian Saeima votes to make mental healthcare more accessible

In the near future, it is planned to significantly improve accessibility of mental healthcare in Latvia. The goal is to provide residents with evidence-based, modern, quality mental healthcare. This is provided by the Plan to Improve Access to Mental Health Care for 2019-2020 approved announced at the State Secretaries meeting of Thursday, 14 March, as confirmed by Healthcare Ministry’s representative Anna Strapcāne.