A traitor in our midst

  • 2011-08-17
  • Staff and wire reports

RIGA - Doing its best to sabotage the government’s work in the 10th Saeima, the Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS), led by Augusts Brigmanis, teamed up with the opposition’s Harmony Center and voted against coalition partner Unity on 51 separate occasions, reported the TV3 broadcast ‘Neka personiga’ (Nothing Personal). Both parties used their efforts to work against improving the rule of law in Latvia, and against the best interests of the country on a host of different issues.
ZZS, by voting the same way as Harmony Center, ensured a majority to stop, or hinder, several projects supported by Unity and Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity), such as amendments to the Criminal Law that stipulated prison sentences to parties for financial violations. ZZS and Harmony Center also blocked amendments to Saeima’s Rules of Procedure that envisaged more transparent elections for state officials.

Both parties also rejected several of the government’s proposals to amend, for example, the Labor Law, the Law on Taxes and Duties, and the Law on State Funded Pensions. They also held off amendments to the Commercial Law for a long time in the parliament, which provide that names of actual beneficiaries or offshore company owners must be made known.
ZZS and Harmony Center played a decisive role when Saeima voted down a request from the Corruption Prevention Bureau (CPB) to authorize a search of Saeima member Ainars Slesers’ (For a Good Latvia) home.
‘Neka Personiga’ concluded that ZZS and Harmony Center voted similarly also on several national issues. Due to ZZS’ support, Harmony Center was able to turn down amendments to the Immigration Law, and Russian citizens are still able to buy property in Latvia and receive permanent residence permits in return.

Critics complain that those taking advantage of the immigration law amendment buy expensive residential real estate, but that these purchases do nothing to promote economic development in the country.
ZZS and Harmony Center’s votes were also decisive during presidential and ombudsman elections.
Nevertheless, Brigmanis, using Soviet-style tactics, claims that he is not ashamed for any of these votes and explains that, for instance, it is Unity that is responsible for the fact that the Saeima did not authorize the search of Slesers’ residence, because the party’s motion was rushed.