RIGA - Latvia's opposition center-right New Era party decided to elect a new secretary-general on Oct. 30, with current leader Edgars Jaunups announcing that he would not run for re-election. "I have worked a full cycle and managed to handle my duties successfully," Jaunups told the Baltic News Service. Jaunups also praised New Era's performance in the recent parliamentary elections, denying that he was stepping down due to the party's poor performance in the elections.
New Era did not make the three-party ruling coalition of the People's Party, Greens and Farmers Union and Latvia's First Party/Latvia's Way, and has little hope of being invited to join the coalition.
"I believe that, considering the typical mud-throwing pre-election spirit, New Era observed all campaign rules and the result of the vote was fair and successful. My decision is by no means linked to the elections," Jaunups said.
Yet others have proposed that his decision was in response to some party members' desire to change leadership. When asked to comment, Jaunups described the party's ongoing developments as "quite normal and part of the positive process of debate."
New Era chairman Einars Repse said he was, "accepting Jaunups' resignation with great sadness, because he was a very good secretary-general."
"I would be happy to nominate him for re-election, but I would need his consent for this," the New Era leader said.
Repse dismissed rumors that the re-shifting of leadership had anything to do with a desire to replace Jaunups. He reminded that New Era's board was elected once a year, its chairman once every two years and the auditing commission once every three years, and that these aspects of party governance were not going to change.
Repse said the party was not short of "capable candidates for the post." However, he declined to mention any names, saying only that the new secretary-general would have to be "energetic, active and communicative."
New Era board member Sandra Kalniete also praised Jaunups' performance, pointing out that he had "worked well and fully ensured funding for the election campaign."
Kalniete said she expected the new secretary-general "to be able to consolidate the sections of New Era into a united and functional body, as we are facing a new task 's local elections."
At Kalniete's initiative, the party board scheduled an issue of no-confidence in Jaunups last week. The general-secretary was elected to the board on Sept. 30.
After debating the issue at length, the New Era board decided to call for re-elections of the secretary-general on Oct. 31
Jaunups was elected secretary-general of the party on Nov. 29, 2005, replacing Uldis Grava.