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

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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.


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  1. Zerry says:

    Amen! Oh, and also not as a servant of university’s old student society .

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