Of all the possible nominees for president, Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs (Union of Greens and Farmers) is the most popular, show the results of a public opinion survey carried out by ‘Latvijas fakti’ in April, reports LETA. 27.4 percent said they would like Lembergs to be the next president. 24.9 percent believe that Valdis Zatlers should be re-elected for a second term; 19.3 percent would like ex-President Vaira Vike-Freiberga to take over, whereas 18.5 percent support Auditor General Inguna Sudraba. Two percent want former Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins for president; 1.3 percent support former Foreign Minister Aivis Ronis; 1.1 percent - Saeima Chairwoman Solvita Aboltina (Unity); 0.4 percent - European Parliament member Inese Vaidere.
A report on the development of Latvia’s military capacities in 2010 was presented at a meeting of the NATO Defense Policy and Planning Committee in Brussels on April 28, where several critical remarks were made about Latvia’s defense budget cuts last year, reports LETA. The report noted that the defense budget of Latvia was inadequate, which may pose a threat to the defense capacities of Latvia and its ability to participate in the NATO collective defense concept. At the same time, the report praised the ongoing reforms in Latvia and the fact that Latvia’s contribution to NATO operations remained unchanged. The report also concluded that Latvia must concentrate on the development of the Land Force Brigade and support units.
The Greens/Farmers’ (ZZS) leader in Saeima, Augusts Brigmanis, said on May 2 that Valdis Zatlers is the sole publicly-announced presidential candidate, and that all other names mentioned are “just rumor,” reports LETA. Brigmanis called talk of Liepaja Mayor Uldis Sesks being nominated “merely rumor without any real foundation,” the same holds true for talk about certain ZZS leaders. “ZZS has not evaluated anyone, except Zatlers,” Brigmanis declared. He expressed doubt whether ZZS would nominate anyone else, adding, however, that all four Green Party MPs [Ingmars Lidaka, Karlis Serzants, Iveta Grigule and Rihards Eigims], and ZZS’ Janis Klauzs, oppose Zatlers’ re-election. Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) echoed Brigmanis’ statement that no one besides Zatlers is being looked at.