People's Party and president criticize candidate

  • 2007-05-30
  • From TBT Staff
RIGA 's Former Constitutional Court Judge and current opposition presidential candidate Aivars Endzins received criticism on Wednesday for his past involvement in the Soviet Union.

The president came out with statements that indirectly imply Endzins' suitability for the post, while the People's Party was far more direct in it's statements. The ruling coalition released a statement on calling on the opposition presidential candidate to withdraw his candidacy for the post. They argued that Endzins' nearly 30 years serving as a judge under the communist regime ruled him out as a possible nominee.
The People's Party said in the statement that "the published facts on Endzins' activities during the Communist regime cannot be matched with running for the high presidential post."
The statement said that Endzins' "denial of the fact of the occupation of the Latvian Republic, and even more 's rejection of the Latvian state founded in 1918, should be taken as an open collaborationism."
The faction then concluded that if Endzins "has the decency, withdrawal of his candidacy would be a fair deed to the society and especially to those voicing support to him in these days."

The president also made comments on Wednesday relating to the ability of a former member of the Communist Party. "It is not a plus or a benefit," she said of Communist Party membership in an interview to the Latvian public radio.
"It is one of the reasons I was so successful in foreign policy during my presidency that I could speak about Latvia's past as something that Latvia has turned away from. That Latvia was a hostage of the system. And that Latvia has now gladly turned to the Western values and the free market system," she said.
In the president's words, a person with such a long "Communist experience" would find it hard to continue her work in foreign policy. "It would not be possible for a person who has been in the high positions in the Communist Party for 30 years to continue the same story," said Vike-Freiberga.

Endzins said in response to the president's statements that he was not surprised by the criticism, citing the president's personal dislike of him. He told The Baltic News Service that the statements were in revenge for a failed real estate deal with the president's husband, Imants Freibergs.
The presidential elections are scheduled for Thursday, May 31.