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Wednesday 21.08.2019 | Name days: Linda, Janīna

NGOs against Parādnieks becoming chairman of Social Integration Fund

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Saeima deputy Imants Parādnieks

Non-government organizations (NGO) represented in the Social Integration Fund (SIF) council may propose their own candidate for the post of the chairman, as admitted by members of NGOs.

NGOs are represented in the council by Health and Social Service Artemīda board chairperson Jolanta Eihentāle, European Latvian Union representative in Latvia Rinalds Gulbis, association Kim? CEO Laima Ruduša, association Kurzeme NGO support centre board chairperson Inese Siliņa and association Education Initiatives Centre director Daiga Zaķe.

Eihentāle notes that in accordance with SIF rules, council chairperson and their deputy are picked and dismissed though a closed vote by council members during official meetings. Rules mention that any council member has the right to propose their own or other council members’ chosen candidates.

«NGOs represented in SIF council are currently discussing the topic of picking an NGO representative for the chairman’s post,» admits Eihentāle.

SIF board member and CEO of ‘Kim?’ Contemporary art centre Ruduša hopes it will be possible to pick their candidate for the chairman’s post. «I hope we will be able to do that. We will see how much say we have and if there is enough time to reach an agreement,» said Ruduša.

She also said that she is not happy with conservative politics entering SIF council. According to her, NGOs were ignored and weren’t even asked to provide their opinion.

«We feel as though votes from NGOs are considered unimportant. There are multiple NGO representatives in SIF council whose active involvement has resulted in a meeting during which we will be able to voice out opinions,» said Ruduša.

The next meeting of SIF is scheduled for 16 August. Ruduša stresses that the meeting should discuss several matters, including the reason why Imants Parādnieks was picked as the prime minister’s representative.

«Of course, it is important for us to pick a person who is not part of such conservative politics. For years SIF has stood for the rights of non-government organizations and has financed important social integration projects. I would like for our interests to be reflected in the fund’s future activities,» said Ruduša.

She also said that prior to the next SIF council meeting NGOs may gather to decide on a unified position.

«We had tried to gather, because it is important to avoid having the rug being pulled out from under us,» admits Ruduša.

SIF council member Zaķe told the agency that she cannot support Parādnieks as a candidate for the post of chairman of SIF, considering the way he is trying to achieve his goal.

Zaķe confirmed that SIF council’s represented NGOs have discussed the option to pick their own candidate, allowing for two scenarios. One is for each NGO picking their own candidate and the second is for NGOs to agree on a single candidate.

«As for Parādnieks, if he wasn’t elected to the Saeima, this means society did not support him. We will discuss if he should be put in charge of a state institution,» said Zaķe.

As for whether or not council members will be able to cooperate while working together with Parādnieks, Zaķe predicts that it will not affect the work done in the council. She added that election of a new council chairman is the most important topic at the moment. The next important task on the list is organizing a personnel selection process to pick the director of SIF secretariat, which needs to be done before 2 September.

European Latvians Association representative, SIF council member Rinalds Gulbis mentioned on Twitter the he cannot support Parādnieks’ as a candidate for the post of chairman.

«Already there is enormous pressure coming from Culture Ministry. One party cannot be allowed to control the entire integration process in the country,» said Gulbis.

The fifth NGO represented in SIF council is Kurzeme NGO Support Centre, which is also a member of Latvia’s Civic Alliance. Kurzeme NGO Support Centre head Siliņa mentioned on Facebook that she is shocked over Parādnieks recent behaviour.

Siliņa’s entry claims that Parādnieks, having reached an agreement with other government representatives in SIF but without consent from the Latvian Civic Alliance, has decided to dictate when to hold SIF meeting, which topics to discuss and who to invite.

Siliņa also mentioned that Parādnieks had applied to become head of the council on his own even though no vote in regards to his approval was even held. She called it a demonstration of attitude with which Parādnieks, according to her, tried showing that he would become head of the council.

Association Latvian Civic Alliance has voiced confusion over the situation. In a letter sent to the prime minister, the alliance asks him to explain the criteria used for picking Parādnieks.

SIF law amendments, which came to force 23 July, state that the composition of the council no longer contains representatives of planning regions. This means that the council remains without a chairman, because the last one was a representative of Zemgale planning region’s development council and Jelgava City Council chairman Andris Rāviņš.

Amendments also state that the prime minister delegates a representative to work in the council. Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš has decided to delegate his advisor for demographic affairs Parādnieks.

According to Kariņš’s press-secretary Sandra Sabajeva said it was planned to delegate Hosams Abu Meri. However, he is the prime minister’s freelance advisor. On top of that, he has recently become Honorary Consul of Lebanon in Latvia.

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  1. Justs says:

    “NGOs” are just mouth pieces for foreign oligarch’s. I think everyone knows that by now. Why are you letting foreign billionaires control your country?

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