Latvija in brief - 2005-03-30

  • 2005-03-30
New Center, a new left-of-center party, appealed a regional court decision to nullify the results of the Rezekne municipal election in the wake of vote-buying allegations. Some locals claimed they were offered cash for their votes, and others alcohol. Forty candidates for the city council had asked for the results to be annulled. New Center captured over 30 percent of the vote in Rezekne, a predominantly ethnic Russian town, and twice as many seats as their nearest competitor, the National Harmony Party.

President Vaira Vike-Freiberga said she would not attend the one-year anniversary of the Baltic states' NATO membership in Tallinn, citing a conflict in schedule. The president's press secretary said the invitation from President Arnold Ruutel arrived only a week ago, and that meetings scheduled for March 29 could not be moved on such short notice. Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, who accepted the invitation, said that Vike-Freiberga's absence was not "a big tragedy," and that cooperation between the Baltic states would continue in the future. Lithuania and Estonia chose not to attend the May 9 ceremonies in Moscow, while Vike-Freiberga said she would go.

Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs asked Vike-Freiberga to request the return of artifacts taken by Sweden during the 17th century. Lembergs said that some of the artifacts were from the western region of Kurzeme, and are now proudly displayed in Swedish museums. He requested that Vike-Freiberga raise the topic with Swedish government officials during her official visit March 31 's April 1.