Latviski English По-русски
Sunday 22.07.2018 | Name days: Marija, Marika, Marina

Saeima elections: grains and chaff

(+2 rating, 2 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWhen casting votes in the 12th Saeima elections it is highly important that residents make the right choice, especially considering the growing concerns about the situation in Ukraine and the possible escalation in Baltic States.

Because elections will likely decide which direction Latvia will be facing – either east or west – popular people and experts urge residents not to be naive and trust empty promises, but assess each candidate based on his or her accomplishments.

Refreshing the memory

«I urge people to think and not be embarrassed or offended by the government’s actions. All people living in Latvia have one big value in common – Latvia, which was achieved through sweat and blood. With a pessimistic attitude [deciding not to vote] we will surely lose it. Elections are the power granted to the people and this power should be used appropriately,» – says poet Māra Zālīte. «Decision not to vote cannot be excused morally or politically… I ask Latvian citizens to understand that we are in a serious political position. I hope this will encourage people to vote. It is our duty,» – she adds.

There is chaff among the grains

Initially having problems with deciding which of the three potential candidates – Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs, Defence Minister Raimonds Vejonis and Welfare Minister Uldis Augulis – to name as the party’s official Prime Minister candidate, Union of Greens and Farmers has decided to select the criminally accused Aivars Lembergs. Either the breath of competitors on the back of their heads or belief that all voters are idiots allows this party to once again select a Prime Minister candidate who will likely have to leave abruptly during all government meetings to attend court sessions in which he is the main suspect and leave meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers whenever confidential topics are discussed.

What also should be taken into account is Lembergs attitude towards NATO and the presence of NATO in Latvia. In this regard, it is also important to keep in mind his rather colourful statement about NATO in his interview to media resources that are supported by Kremlin. He compared the possible increase of NATO presence in Latvia to a military occupation, not unlike the one Latvia experienced in 1940. He had also mentioned in his interview to Russian media that NATO bases have no place in Latvia, because they allegedly threaten Latvia’s national security.

Kremlin project

UGF and its most illustrious member are not the only political figures Kremlin takes a liking to. Aside from the obviously friendly Latvian Russians’ Union, there are also Harmony Centre and Inguna Sudraba’s No sirds Latvijai.

«I had once believed the former state auditor Inguna Sudraba could become a breath of fresh air in Latvia’s political life. Now I see this breath is fake,» – says foreign affairs specialist Edvins Inkens.

According to him, Sudraba’s strange decisions, including the registration of her movement [No sirds Latvijai] in a questionable apartment, demonstrates that the person in charge is not a professional and does not know how such things are done properly. «Sudraba was promised enough money to form a party and afford a pre-election campaign. She has done nothing over the past year; she has no team,» – Inkens said in an interview to Klubs magazine.

It seems as though Sudraba is followed by an unfortunate chain of events even in spite of frequent consultations with astrologists and numerologists. Here she publicly faints during her own press-conference after hearing that the government has been dissolved, then she is caught having dinner with Ainars Slesers, businessman Druvis Skulte and co-owner of Liepaja market Atis Sausnitis. Now she flies to Moscow on a private plane with the father of a Russian spy and then visits a healing centre that popularizes Vladimir Putin. In spite of the party’s short life, it has been abandoned by several well-known figures.

Poet Māra Zālīte notes: «I cannot take this party as one that is necessary for Latvia. I cannot believe lies can be so big. Lies are told all the time, and this party in particular – all lies, big and small. Its position is also rather populist. I simply do not believe this party; there are too many suspicious elements.» She adds that many people have called this party «Kremlin’s project».

Recent activities of Harmony also speak for themselves – signed cooperation agreements with the Chinese Communist Party and the ruling party in Russia – United Russia; political technologists from Moscow train activists from HC; actively have representatives of the Russian State Duma take part in HC congresses, mystical donations to the party, Ushakov’s correspondence with Russian spy Aleksandr Hapilov, etc. After the unexpected failure during the European Parliament elections, HC obviously fears not acquiring enough support from voters to propose Nil Ushakov as its candidate for the post of Prime Minister of Latvia.

Politologists have expressed doubts that any of the three leaders of the aforementioned parties – Lembergs, Ushakov and Sudraba – will even be provided with access to official secrets and lead the Cabinet of Ministers.

Reputation attacks cause enormous waves

It is said that anything goes during war. If this is true, the current pre-election fight has created waves like never before seen in Latvia. In terms of blackening one’s reputation, United for Latvia, No sirds Latvijai and Harmony have been involved in ‘intense fighting’. A good strategy to use in the fight for votes would be Citadele Bank, the selling period of which coincided with the pre-election period in Latvia. One might ask – just where were all these shouters and protest organizers before? Why didn’t Ushakov gather people for protests before the elections? The answer is quite obvious – it provides a good opportunity to spice things up during pre-election period and use this painful matter against his political competitors – the current coalition parties.

Another option

If voters decide to cast votes for ‘old’ parties that remain in power at the moment, it is important to keep in mind which of them can overcome the 5% barrier and enter the Saeima. According to results of a public survey by SDTIC, 18.7% of respondents plan to vote for Unity, 15.4% – National Alliance and 11.3% – for the Latvian Association of Regions.

The suspicious aversion TV3 apparently has for LAR makes one wonder about media sources that are able to influence the minds of voters. For example, portal is closely related to HC – Chief Editor of the party’s ‘Tava Rīga’ magazine Nils Saks is also a journalist for Jurgis Liepnieks, HC’s political technologist with articles that appear supportive of HC and pro-Russian views, often publishes his materials on In one of his summer posts on Twitter, Ushakov is seen on a photo with Liepnieks and title ‘together with Harmony’s new head of election headquarters’.

Lato Lapsa is also known for his attacks on Unity and National Alliance and his generous attitude towards Uskahov, Janis Urbanovics and Harmony Centre in general. He has even released a newspaper ‘Vienotība. Pietiek!’ [Unity. Enough!]. Lapsa admits that the publishing and printing costs of this newspaper exceed 30,000 lats. This means that creating at least three or four other printed magazines would cost more than 100,000 lats. One might ask where does Lato Lapsa, who had once been in the Council of the Russian Telegraf newspaper, finds funding?

According to head of SDTIC project Director Dana Valuškina, these Saeima elections will definitely go down in history as some of the most talked about. Survey results confirm this – the majority of voters have trouble deciding which party to vote for. There is a strong sense of belief in society that these particular Saeima elections will form Latvia’s future. Latvia’s national values and national unity are being used in different slogans by different parties more so than in any other Saeima election year.


Leave a reply

Week in Lithuania. Liberals ex-leader fails to recover confiscated cash

Eligijus Masiulis, a former Liberal Movement leader on trial in a major political corruption case, has failed to recover cash that was found and seized during searches of his home.

BNN summary of the week: open presidential election in Latvia and no more plastic bags for shoppers

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Future; Change; Fight; Decline; Business; Progress.

SRS: cash register reform still stagnates, but has become much faster than it was last year

The cash registers reform continues stagnating. However, it has become much faster than it was a year ago, as reported by State Revenue Service.

Specialists to search for solutions to topical environmental problems in Ventspils

On Friday, 20 July, a meeting was held between Ventspils Commercial Port representatives and specialists from State Environment Service.

Children with functional disorders to receive services financed by EU funds

Child invalids will have access to social services intended to improve their social skills and mobility. More than EUR 4.2 million has been allocated for this goal from the European Social Fund, as confirmed by Latvia’s Central Financing and Contracting Agency.

Producer price level in industry up 4.3% in Latvia

Compared to June 2017, the average level of producer prices in Latvian industry increased by 4.3 % in June 2018. Prices of products sold on the domestic market rose by 4.8 % and those of exported products by 3.7 %.

Total tax debts in Latvia in July – 1.212 billion euros

At the beginning of July total tax debts in Latvia, including outstanding debts, halted debts and debts applied with repayment term extensions, accounted for EUR 1.212 billion, which is 0.8% less than a month prior, according to data from the State Revenue Service.

Survey: every third Latvian resident has received illegal loan offers

Nearly every third resident in Latvia or 31% of respondents admit having received offers to use illegal loan services, as concluded in a survey performed by Latvian Alternative Financial Services Association and SKDS.

Libya opposed to EU's idea to establish migrant centres in North Africa

Libya is against the solution of the European Union to set up migrant centres in the North African country as a means to keep migrants from arriving in the bloc and Libya would not be convinced with financial support, its Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has noted.

Arrest warrant on Catalan ex-President cancelled by Spain

The Supreme Court of Spain cancelled a European arrest warrant for former Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont, as Germany refused to extradite him to face accusations of rebellion for declaring the independence of Spain's region, Catalonia in 2017.

Latvian government plans to allow handing expired food to charity

Latvia’s Agriculture Ministry has prepared amendments to the Law on the Supervision of the Handling of Food that provide permission to hand over certain types of food products to charity after the end of their expiry date.

Estonian industrial producer prices up 2.9% since June 2017

Estonian industrial producer price index has risen by 2.9% between June 2017 and the first summer month this year, resulting in an increase of export prices as well, Estonian statisticians have estimated.

Putin urges NATO to quit «irresponsibly» developing ties with Ukraine, Georgia

Russia's President Vladimir Putin cautioned NATO against developing deeper relations with Ukraine and Georgia, evaluating such a policy was irresponsible and would have consequences for the military alliance.

Latvian parliament not in a hurry to support president Vejonis for a second term

Political parties represented in the Saeima are not eager to support President Raimonds Vējonis for his remainder for a second term.

Weather in Latvia will remain warm and even hot at times

Weather in Latvia in the nearest couple of days will be dictated by a cyclone. Because of that the sky will be partially covered by clouds; thunderstorms are also expected, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Hungary sued in EU Court for criminalising help to illegal immigrants

The European Union's executive body has stated that a law in Hungary that criminalises support for illegal immigrants is in breach with EU law and Hungary has now been referred to the European Court of Justice for the alleged non-compliance.

Estonians buy alcohol in Latvia; country loses EUR 20 million in six months

Latvian stores located close to the Latvian-Estonian border have sold 1.6 million litres of strong alcoholic drinks in the first half year of 2019. This means Estonia has lost more than EUR 20 million in taxes, according to data from Association of Estonian Alcohol Producers and Importers.

Lithuania’s election watchdog slams ruling LFGU over popular TV series

Political messages can be channeled in various ways and the ruling now Lithuanian party, LFGU has chosen a very delicate way of the communications – through a TV series featuring the beauty and the ambiance of Naisiai, a picturesque settlement in Siauliai district.

Association: around 3,3000 people know of their HIV infection but receive no treatment

HIV remains a serious problem in Latvia – around 3,300 people are aware of their status but receive no treatment and continue spreading the infection. Because of that, it is necessary to act quickly for Latvia to lose its status as HIV kingdom and limit the spread of the infection, says Baltic HIV Association, informing decision-makers and responsible officials in institutions and hospitals about the HIV/AIDS situation.

Driver shortage may force reduction of international road haulage volumes

Latvia’s road haulage companies have started experiencing shortage of drivers. On top of that, if employment conditions for residents of non-EU member states do not change, it may be necessary to reduce the volume of road haulage volumes, says Latvijas auto president Valdis Trēziņš.

Lattelecom’s turnover up 9% in first half-year of 2018

Lattelecom Group’s turnover reached EUR 98.7 million in the first half-year of 2018, growing by 9% in comparison with the same period of 2017, according to unaudited financial results.

1,140 fewer births registered in Latvia in 2017

Since 2016 the number of births in Latvia is declining again. Compared to 2016, a total of 1,140 births fewer were registered in 2017. Also, the provisional number of births registered over the first six months of 2018 (9,664 children) is by 664 children smaller than that registered over the respective period of 2017.

Citadele Bank decides to reform Lithuanian subsidiary as a branch office

Citadele Bank has decided to reform its Lithuanian subsidiary as a branch office, as confirmed in the statement the bank submitted to Nasdaq Riga.

Russian pension age hike discussed amid protest outside Duma

As the Russian paliament votes on the proposal to gradually increase he pension age to 65 for men and 63 for women, some 200 people were seen protesting against the reform in Moscow.

Corruption watchdog chief says bureau has done no illegal actions

After going through Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s past investigative activities, the bureau’s chief – Jēkabs Straume – found it confusing that officers often took no appropriate actions after acquiring evidence or receiving indications regarding necessary steps.