RIGA - “We have chosen the Irish model, where politicians and businessmen are united in order to ensure the country’s development,” said Latvia’s First Party/Latvia’s Way leader Ainars Slesers on June 12 at a press conference following the founding of the alliance ‘For a Good Latvia,’ in which he will be a board member. Slesers indicated that if ‘For a Good Latvia’ wins the 10th Saiema elections this fall, both large and small companies will be actively involved in making political decisions.
The LPP/LC leader also promised that no taxes would be set that would slow the development of business, and that on the contrary, the tax system would encourage new investment and the relocation of foreign businesses to Latvia.
Slesers, and the rest of the alliance’s members, however, have clearly shown an almost complete lack of understanding of how the ‘Irish model’ works, let alone an understanding of the processes of a country’s economic growth in general. After decades of economic decay and massive emigration, the leaders of Ireland - from the business community, government and labor - decided during the 1970s to come together to work in cooperation to get the country on a path of social and economic development.
They set aggressive goals, looked abroad for expertise and high-tech foreign investment (including from among the Irish ex-pats then living abroad), and set about reversing an environment of endemic corruption, underinvestment, and short term policy-making, ideas that have not yet been heard from Slesers’ team.
reland had world-class universities in place, producing much sought after graduates for the newly located companies. The likes of Slesers and People’s Party leader Andris Skele have yet to put focus in Latvia on working towards similar education investment, standards and restructuring.
It is still unknown whether the chairman of the board of the new alliance, former Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis, is preparing to run for election or even as the alliance’s candidate for prime minister. However, according to unofficial information, Ulmanis could well turn out to be the alliance’s prime ministerial candidate, with Skele a possible candidate for finance minister and Slesers possibly as economy minister.