Latvian political maneuvering heats up as election looms

  • 2011-08-07
  • TBT Staff

"Unity" officially became a single party instead of a political coalition during a week of intense political maneuvering.

RIGA -- Latvian party politics is heating up as parties prepare their agendas ahead of next month's general elections, with major announcements coming from the ruling Unity party, poll-leaders Zatlers' Reform Party and from the struggling LPP/LC. 

Though it was corruption that drove voters to disband the current parliament in an unprecedented referendum, the economy, which was devastated by the economic crisis, remains a top issue for voters.

The newly formed center-right party headed by former president Valdis Zatlers, known as "Zatlers' Reform Party" (Zatlera Reforma Partija) -- currently leading the polls along with left-wing Harmony Center -- officially announced it's economic program in a move that helped spark a flurry of political activity over the weekend.

The program aims at forming a more progressive tax system by increasing property tax and eliminating the reduced VAT rate on some goods and services. It would also lower the labor tax.

In a direct reference to the country's most popular political force, meanwhile, LPP/LC -- also center-right -- has officially renamed itself Slesers' Reform Party. Ainars Slesers, widely known as one of the country's three "oligarchs", is also the party's candidate for prime minister.

The ruling Unity political coalition, meanwhile, has officially declared itself a single party and re-nominated current Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis as their candidate for the next head of government.