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Friday 20.07.2018 | Name days: Ramona, Ritma

Political parties elusive about providing support to President Bērziņš

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvia’s current President Andris Bērziņš came to power thanks to votes from Harmony Centre’s deputies. However, the hopes of opposition deputies that he would grant them a place in the government in return failed to realize in the past three years.

The election of a lesser-known UGF member and once the head of Unibank Andra Bērziņš was one of the last pieces of work performed by the dissolved 10th Saeima, as reported by Nekā personīga programme of TV3.

Because Bērziņš’s status as a millionaire was secured by his acquaintance with Andris Šķēle, the ex-banker had to work hard to cleanse himself from the ‘oligarch’s friend’ status applied to him by society. He had invited two capable lawyers in his team – former Prosecutor General Janis Maizitis and Saeima Legal Affairs Office’s advisor Edgars Pastars. Bērziņš refused to stay in Zatlers’ renovated residence in Jurmala, supported the initiative to reduce social guarantees for former presidents and announced that he would donate his wage to schools. However, later he decided he is no longer obligated to tell who he donates his wage to and even if he continues doing it.

His most significant legal initiative was the decision to increase the authority and responsibility of the Prime Minister. There are no others. He has not provided any criticisms in regard to different important areas of social life, such as the odd decision made by judges about businesses.

The President himself managed to get involved in a bribery scandal – having had several informal talks with former Saeima deputy Andis Kaposts about saving some drunk driver.

Cultural workers were angered by Bērziņš’s indecisiveness. In an open letter, writers, directors and journalists expressed their collective shame that the country’s interests are represented by Lithuanian and Estonian presidents, not the legitimately elected President of Latvia.

Nevertheless, there was no response from Bērziņš or politicians who had elected him. The Union of Greens and Farmers, on the other hand, are satisfied with his work and would be prepared to support him for a second term.

Bērziņš’s experience as businessman is important to August Brigmanis. The leader of UGF often consults with the President. In the matter regarding the sale of Citadele Bank, Bērziņš’s opinion was an important factor for the formation of UGF’s position.

«It should be admitted that Bērziņš is an average orator. This is true! He is what he is. Can his lack of skills be compensated by his simplicity? I would say in some way. Thank God there have not been any X moments when he needed to be a leader and face the people with a clear and strong language,» – says Saeima deputy Brigmanis.

Saeima Chairwoman Solvita Aboltina did not want to reveal Unity’s opinion on Bērziņš’s possible re-election. He most enjoys a high degree of trust from society.

«He has never tried to raise his popularity at the expense of executive power or decision makers. He always tries to communicate with involved institutions. Of course, his communication has not been successful when expressing an opinion on some important topic,» – says Solvita Aboltina.

Deputies of the National Alliance did not vote for Bērziņš three years ago. They do not have anything criminal or catastrophic to incriminate him, but they do have their own candidate.

«We would like to hear something more concrete in specific matters, a stronger position from the president. This is true, and there have been cases when the president’s position was opposite to the National Alliance’s beliefs. This applies to the repeated review to the immigration law in regard to residence permits,» – explains deputy Chairman of the National Alliance Raivis Dzintars.

The National Alliance believe the president of the country should be able to inspire and mobilize society, as well as define Latvia’s goals and national interests. They believe Egils Levits is that kind of person. His work on the preamble to the constitution has demonstrated that he can convince opponents to sit down behind a table and convince them about state goals.

The decisive ‘yes’ in favour of UGF’s candidate Bērziņš came from deputies of Harmony Centre. Harmony Centre explained their support for Bērziņš by saying that, like Valdis Zatlers, he understood that they have to be in the government. He was also more responsive to their political goals. Nevertheless, Bērziņš did not fulfil Harmony Centre’s hopes to gain access to the government.

«We had more hopes! It is possible that we had made a grave error in our hopes,» – says Janis Urbanovics.

When asked if HC would vote for Bērziņš again, the leader of HC remains silent. In his previous interviews, Urbanovics did not hide that the best kind of president would be one that is elected by the people. His political colleague from No sirds Latvijai party Inguna Sudraba also believes Latvia should have a president that is elected by the people.


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