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Wednesday 16.10.2019 | Name days: Daiga, Dinija

Political cynicism and rejected demographic expert. Trade with SIF council leader’s seat

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Saeima deputy Imants Parādnieks

Egg cells saga, scandals over bar names, promotion requests for a brother – Imants Parādnieks is a person with «interesting» ideas. After becoming Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš’s advisor, the politician whose actions often cause shock from people (there was the tail-cutting, for one) has set his sights on the seat of chairman of the council of Social Integration Fund (SIF).

The chairman of SIF council is not paid a wage, but being able to decide how money is spent on social cohesion is nothing to frown at.

It is well-known that Parādnieks is a compromise figure. When coalition parties were dividing ministries, the math was not entirely in Kariņš’s favour – to does one divide 14 seats among five parties? This is when the idea to create a special Demographic Affairs Minister’s seat for Parādnieks and the National Alliance first surfaced. The «demographic affairs expert» who was not elected to the Saeima and to whom family values are so dear that he has several families, has wanted to become demographic affairs minister for a long time, but even this time the opportunity has slipped. Perhaps it is enough for him to be an advisor for demographic affairs?

Clearly not, because he is determined to become the head of SIF council and divide money for projects aimed at contributing to social integration.

In simple terms, integration means putting together different groups of people. Be it a country and society, different ethnic or social groups; let’s say the rich and the poor, Latvians and Russians, etc. Social integration would focus on implementing equal game rules and ways to motivate people to talk to one another.

Is reduction of ethnic tension really the National Alliance’s thing?

Protector of transparency and efficiency

Parādnieks intends to make SIF operations more efficient and transparent. However, there are several examples that prove Parādnieks cannot even provide the aforementioned values in his party.

It is worth mentioning here Riga City Council deputy Baiba Broka, who has decided to leave the party following the corruption scandal at University of Latvia House of Letters procurement. Though suspended from a profitable post at the university, Broka was given a place at the university with as equally unclear responsibilities and no less considerable remuneration.

It should also be added that the National Alliance still has not gotten rid of its reputation as a party of insolvency administrators.

Parādnieks is the party’s board member and vice-chairman. Only thing left is to ask what he was up to during Broka’s scandal and his party was dealing with its reputation of defenders of insolvency administrators.

An important question is did Parādnieks teach his colleagues that it is necessary to be respectful towards minorities and think before posting things about kebab bakers and refugees on Twitter?

Deals with seats

It is not like Parādnieks will be the first «great social cohesion expert» for which the party leaders have prepared a warm seat. Previously the council of SIF was led by Jelgava Mayor Andris Rāviņš. The only thing that links him with social integration is he had recently become retired. Aside from that, he has not been vocal about social cohesion at all.

It is possible that without amendments to the Social Integration Fund Law, which provide for no more representation of planning regions, Rāviņš would have remained there another decade. He has been in charge of Jelgava City Council for 18 years.

What has been observed in relation to selection of the council chairman, it is looking more and more like political cynicism. Perhaps someone needs an additional vote, and the price for it is a seat with influence. As a result, the post will be provided not to a professional with a vision for social integration in Latvia and an interest for the sector but a demographic expert who was rejected by voters.

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