Ventspils doctor is new speaker

  • 2007-09-24
  • By TBT staff and wire reports

THREE OF A KIND? Daudze (left) will be keen to distance himself from both Emsis (center) and Lembergs. (Photo: Leta)

RIGA - Latvia's Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS) has succeeded in its nomination of Gundars Daudze for the position of Latvian parliamentary speaker. Saeima voted the Ventspils physician into the hot seat Sep. 24.

The move sees Daudze succeed party colleague Indulis Emsis, who has stepped aside to face charges that he gave false testimony to police.

ZZS chairman Martins Roze earlier confirmed that Daudze had agreed to be put forward, as demanded by parliamentary rules.

Roze said that it was not easy to nominate a candidate. "Of course, it was not that we just came, sat at the table and named Gundars Daudze," he said. "The decision was discussed both with the faction and the ministers." 

Roze denied that the charges against Emsis would prevent the ZZS's coalition partners supporting another candidate from the same party, noting that they have publicly stated that the speaker's position 'belongs' to ZZS.

Daudze was born in 1965. He graduated from Riga Medical Institute in 1989 as a paediatrician. He has worked on Ventspils City Council and on the board of Ventspils Hospital. Since 2006 he has been a parliamentary secretary with the Latvian Welfare Ministry.

The Ventspils connection has caused some to wonder how close Daudze's relationship might be with another ZZS politician with legal matters on his mind 's Aivars Lembergs. The Ventspils mayor is currently at the centre of a high-profile corruption case.

Speaking to Baltic News Service, Daudze who is a member of Lembergs' own For Latvia and Ventspils party, said that it had been responsible for the successful development of the city.

When asked to comment the so-called Lembergs case, Daudze was brief: "Several assessments and comments have been expressed lately. As the importance of my words have changed within the last two days, I would like to abstain from public assessment of [the] Lembergs case," he said.

When asked about his relationship with Lembergs, Daudze said that he has been a municipality lawmaker and the youngest chief doctor in Latvia in his time. On November 1996 he was just 31 when he became the chief doctor of Ventspils hospital. "We solved different issues together," he said.

Similarly, Daudze said that the position of Latvian parliament speaker was offered to him by the head of ZZS Augusts Brigmanis. "He addressed me in the name of the faction. I had to decide fast and I accepted the challenge," said Daudze, adding, that along with his becoming a speaker, "life could change radically."