RIGA - After months of speculation, Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs announced on Jan. 31 that he intented to participate as a candidate in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The news was written in Lembergs' petition to the court, where he asked that his lawsuit against the Prosecutor General, which was originally scheduled for Sept. 7, be reviewed at once, the daily Diena reported on Jan. 31. The mayor is asking for a retraction of defamatory material.
According to Inta Lipska, Judge Anita Cernavska's aide, the court received a letter from Lembergs on Oct. 20, 2005, requesting a retraction so that he could run in Parliamentary elections this fall.
A looming court case could jeopardize his chances in the election, Lembergs said in his petition.
However, many politicians are sceptical if he will actually run.
"I don't think he will run for Saeima [Latvia's parliament], because in doing so, he would lose the influential post of the mayor of Ventspils," said People's Party faction head Janis Lagzdins.
But if Lembergs does run, Lagzdins said, one thing's for sure: he will never cooperate with Maris Gulbis' New Democrats.
The People's Party leader added that no one would be surprised if Lembergs was included on the Greens and Farmer's list, because there have been recent signs of cooperation between Lembergs and this party.
"I have no idea where they get such things from," the Greens and Farmers Union's faction chairman, Augusts Brigmanis, said. "Our candidate for prime minister is Indulis Emsis. The nation, of course, would like Lembergs to participate in the elections and bring order in all of Latvia, as he did in Ventspils."
Brigmanis said a ticket with Lembergs could get 20 's 25 seats in Parliament.
Gulbis, meanwhile, believes that Lembergs will run. "I'm 90 percent sure that he will go into politics," he said.
Gulbis said he hoped that the Ventspils mayor would agree to the inclusion of his name on New Democrats' ticket, LETA news agency reported.
Talks between New Democrats and Lembergs' "Latvijai un Ventspilij" have been under way for quite a while already, but Lembergs has not given his final answer yet.
New Democrats has already been joined by most of the Union of Social Democrats former members, and representatives of the Zemgale Party said they would also join.
According to Lembergs, the Prosecutor's Office sent an allegedly defamatory request to Switzerland last year, dealing with his possible connection to the owners of Ventspils transit companies. It said the mayor had misused his power and accepted bribes for making decisions favorable for Multinord AG, a shareholder in the joint-stock company Kalija Parks.