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Sunday 23.02.2020 | Name days: Haralds, Almants
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Expert compares Zatlers’ party to People’s Party but without charismatic leader

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Ivars Ijabs

The Reform Party is being established similarly as the People’s Party (Tautas partija) being a «one-man» party, only the ex-President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers, unlike Andris Skele, is no charismatic leader, considers the political scientist Ivars Ijabs.

In his view, a «star team» is unnecessary for Zatlers’ would-be party; however, the former President cannot be compared to Skele. It is hard to describe him as an inspirational and charismatic leader, the political scientist says. He believes that people currently joining Zatlers, do not think so much about attracting well-known persons, but are busy drafting the party’s programme.

Zatlers’ party will get in the Parliament; however, the election outcome will not be that victorious, the political scientist forecasts.

Ijabs also does not believe that Zatlers’ party has the potential to become a mass party. There are no true mass parties in Latvia, because such tradition was lost during the Soviet times. Before the World War II and Ulmanis’ coup d’état, the Farmers Union had 23 000 members. Currently, there are over hundred members in Latvian parties, but thousand is already too large number, Ijabs says.

At the same time, he adds that the tradition to form a mass party is disappearing in Europe, because people no longer wish to join parties. In democratic countries, there are many other opportunities for participation, so there is no need for traditional, large parties, Ijabs points out.


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