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Trust in Parliament continues to drop

  • 2006-09-20
  • From wire reports
RIGA - A recent survey shows that only 27 percent of Latvia's residents trust Saeima (Latvia's parliament), while 66 percent do not. The poll was conducted in August by the SKDS research center.

The results show that 1.2 percent of those polled "completely trust" Saeima, while 25.3 percent "tend to trust" the government. Approximately 18 percent "completely mistrust" Parliament, while 47 percent "tend to mistrust" Saeima. Eight percent of those polled had no opinion.

The poll is a strong indicator that few people will vote in the upcoming Parliamentary elections, scheduled for Oct. 8. Experts have predicted that this year, Latvia may see its lowest electorate yet due to strong feelings of mistrust toward politicians and vicious "black PR" campaigns.
People's Party leader Janis Lagzdins told Leta news agency that frequent political scandals were the reason so few people trusted Saeima.

Yet Latvia's First Party member Janis Smits argued that the blame must be placed on non-governmental organizations, who "cultivate mistrust and disgust."
New Era member Karlis Sadurskis took the news personally, saying the survey results were evidence of other parties' attempts to convince the public that New Era was "just like any other party."

He commented that the Greens and Farmers Union candidate for prime minister Aivars Lembergs' "brainwashing via the newspaper Neatkariga" (See story this Page) created even greater mistrust in politicians.
Younger people, ethnic Latvians and state structure employees were more apt to express trust in Parliament, while ethnic minorities and non-citizens were the most sceptical.

According to SKDS, 37 percent of Latvian residents trusted Parliament in 2003, and 31 percent the following year. In 2005, 28 percent of those polled said they trusted Saeima. The percentage of residents saying they mistrust Saeima has climbed steadily since 2003 - from 56 percent to 66 percent.
The research center polled 1,000 residents of Latvia, ages 18-74.