Left-wing Russian parties form alliance in Latvia

  • 2005-07-11
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA 's Two parties representing minority interests have united to create a new center-left force that, in the words of its founders, aims to consolidate fractured interests in Latvia.

The new party will be called Harmony Center, as it unites the center-left Harmony Party, a veteran force on the Latvian political scene, and the young New Center.

Sergejs Dolgopolovs, who was elected chairman of the new party, said the main purpose of the new alliance was to consolidate political forces.

"This is going to be an open alliance, and its purpose will be to consolidated people and overcome fragmentation," he said.

The alliance's program states that it will focus on social justice and hold high the idea of solidarity while underlining the role of market mechanisms in the public life and responsibility of individuals for quality of their lives.

The main problems identified by the Harmony Center are the public integration in Latvia, capability of making use of the EU financial support, usage of advantages offered by the globalization process while trying to mitigate its negative4 consequences, etc.

It is possible that the Latvian Socialist Party and Musu Latvijai (For Our Latvia), a small regional party, could also join the new alliance.

Harmony Party's Aivars Datavs told the Baltic News Service that the alliance had been organized with "all kinds of elections" in mind, and the two parties will also form joint factions in Parliament and on local councils. Still, both parties will continue to function separately and make independent decisions.

The former head of the People's Harmony Party, Janis Jurkans, said he would not work in an organization chaired by Sergejs Dolgopolovs, the leader of the newly founded New Center party, who was previously expelled from TSP.

Speaking at the party's congress on July 9, Jurkans said that actually New Center had already made the decisions about the new party without consulting the Harmony Party.

He suggested that the merger was related to interests of oligarchs and was not a political but rather a business project and he did not want anything to do with it. "I'm not handling any business projects," he said.

When asked about Jurkans' decision to resign, Dolgopolovs said that losing the experienced politician was no big deal to the new alliance because "a valuable member would not act like this," and Jurkans' departure only undermined the prestige of Harmony Party.

He dismissed Jurkans' allegations about the new alliance's relations with oligarchs, saying that any party could be described as somebody's business project.