RIGA - The People’s Party and Latvia’s First Party/Latvia’s Way (LPP/LC) declared last week that they will stand on a joint ticket in this fall’s Saeima elections, reports news agency LETA. The new political force will also be made up of people from the new movement ‘For A Good Latvia.’
LPP/LC leader Ainars Slesers said he expected about 37 seats in the next Saeima, and that total membership of the party could be about 10,000, making the joint union the biggest political entity in Latvia. He underlined that fresh faces must be involved, those outside the political scene, who can come with their ideas of how to make Latvia a prosperous nation. Slesers talked of involving “thousands” in politics, people unseen before. He added that that there is no need to look back at the former differences between LPP/LC and the People’s Party, because “it is time to look forward.”
For his part, People’s Party chief Skele declared that the new union’s goal is to bring the nation out of economic futility, a nation that is “like a drowning man strapped with barbells. In bringing together Latvia’s brightest minds, we can bring change.”
When reporters asked who would be the candidate for prime minister, Slesers’ response was vague, however, he did not hide his interest in the role. He said that if given the party’s mandate, he would be a candidate in the next Saeima elections.
The logo for the LPP/LC and People’s Party’s new political union will be (AS)2, reflecting the initials of its leaders’ names. Several party members were initially surprised and objected to the selected logo; however, it has now received support. “A little joviality is good, I see nothing wrong in [the logo],” Skele said. Slesers echoed Skele’s words, saying that looking at the process with “some humor” is important.
The joke could be on Latvia, however, if these two are elected, considering their lack of vision for the country and self-interested reputations both businessmen entertain.
Some say this is a desperate attempt to reverse a slide in the polls, and possible oblivion from Latvian politics. A recent ‘Latvijas fakti’ poll shows that the political parties Unity, Harmony Center and the Greens/Farmers Union stand at the top in terms of popularity, with 17 percent of the population favoring Unity, 16.2 percent Harmony Center, and 7.4 percent the Greens/Farmers Union.
All other parties, including the People’s Party and LPP/LC, would fail to clear the mandatory 5 percent threshold, if elections were held now.
Heard on the Street
A small sampling of voters were asked: How do you view the recent announcement that Ainars Slesers and Andris Skele plan to join forces for the next Saeima election?
Biruta, 82, pensioner
I do not trust these two. I do not believe them. I used to support Skele when he went into politics, but when he quit just before his party led Latvia into the ‘Fat Years,’ and then did not come back to correct the mistakes made by his party [members], he lost my faith there. I have never supported Slesers - he is a businessman and acts to advance his business projects.
Normunds, 39, plumber
They have made a union? I have not really been following politics that much. I am not sure if I can say anything positive about any politician in Latvia, so I would rather say nothing.
Krisjanis, 22, sound engineer
This looks very suspicious. Considering the previous experience with these two politicians and their parties... They are businessmen and it has been noted that they are supported by the enterpreneurs as well, so it is unlikely that they will stand for the long term interests of the country. I will vote this September, but not for this ‘formation’.
Toms, 29, state administration
I think that Skele is going for the last recourse to regain some power and to get elected. Skele’s activities after his return to politics show that he has not maintained any considerable influence on the happenings in the state, and he does not have any offers [to get over the crisis] either, because the proposals made for the government by the People’s Party (TP) before TP’s resignation looked like ruminated plans of the the current government, plus some populistic ideas. Slesers, for his part, is ready to ‘shake hands with anyone’ if that guarantees his election. I don’t know if his calculations will prove accurate this time - considering how low the ratings of Skele and TP are at the moment. It seems that this union is hopeless, especially if the public remembers the words and deeds made by both politicians/parties. No one should vote for them. Unfortunately, I think they will get elected, because the marketing and the PR people know their job.