One year later, opinions mixed on Zatlers’ decree

  • 2012-05-30
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Valdis Zatlers (Reform Party), now a Saeima member, in an interview with Latvian State Radio on May 28 said that when he was president, his ‘decree No.2,’ proposing dissolution of the 10th Saeima and the subsequent disbanding of parliament has changed the political environment and political philosophy in Latvia, reports LETA.
A year has passed since that decree, and politicians and Saeima are regaining public trust, emphasized Zatlers. Even though this support is still very low, it is nevertheless twice as high as a year ago.

The politician pointed out that ‘decree No. 2’ has also left a positive international impression of the country. Before dissolving the 10th Saeima, Latvia was seen as a country ruled by three oligarchs. His decision confirmed internationally that Latvia was ready for changes, noted Zatlers.

The dissolution of the 10th Saeima, ex-president Guntis Ulmanis said to the LNT morning show ‘900 sekundes’ in April, has not produced the expected results. It was not well thought out, or necessary, he countered.
Ulmanis pointed out the dissolution of the 10th Saeima, however, has led to the appearance of “new faces and fresh ideas” in Latvia’s politics. The ex-president lauded Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity). “The time will come when it will be necessary to make aggressive economic decisions. The recent project on kindergartens gives hope that the government has started to think about practical solutions and demographic issues,” said Ulmanis.

He admitted that the current economic situation can be described as a suffering. Latvia’s economy suffers, business awaits changes, and the government should focus on development instead of fixing things, emphasized the politician.
Ulmanis went on to say that the government currently seems stable and will not fall anytime soon.
Latvia’s political climate will start changing next year, and Auditor General Inguna Sudraba will enter the country’s political arena and her party will be a rival to Unity, Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs (For Latvia and Ventspils) predicts in an interview with the daily Neatkariga Rita Avize. Lembergs believes that it will be much more difficult for the other parties to deal with Sudraba than with him.

The controversial seaside mayor is convinced that the current situation will dramatically change next year and Unity will no longer be able to act the way the People’s Party did, enjoying its dominating position in Saeima, the government, state companies, procurements, and so forth.
Zatlers’ decree on disbanding the 10th Saeima brought high hopes and faith that changes were ahead; however, a year later, Latvia’s society is left disappointed and aggravated by Zatlers’ selfishness back then, Saeima Speaker Solvita Aboltina (Unity) said in an interview with LETA.

The 11th Saeima, which has been working for only seven months, has a different makeup from the 10th Saeima, explains Aboltina. There are many young people without political, parliamentary or governmental experience. It is good that there are young and motivated people in Saeima; however, there must be a balance between experience and youth, exclaims the politician.

People usually choose experienced doctors and teachers. In politics, however, they wish to see “new faces” in every election. There are currently many young MPs, who are still learning to work, says Aboltina.
Zatlers’ decree had huge public support, proving that the nation wanted changes and believed in them, she explains.
Commenting on Aboltina’s statements that his decision has left people disappointed, Zatlers explained that this was a very difficult year for Unity, adding that before his motion to disband the 10th Saeima, Unity was growing increasingly dependent on the Greens/Farmers Union and Mayor Lembergs. Decree No. 2 has allowed Unity to pursue those values that the party’s politicians were not able to do for ten years, said Zatlers.

In the interview, Zatlers also criticized the Pasazieru Vilciens train procurement problems, particularly the appointment of the company’s new board, which was done in a characteristically non-transparent way.
Looking to last year, it was on May 28, 2011, that then-President Zatlers announced his move to dissolve the 10th Saeima. He said that his decision was due to discord between the parliament and the legal system, as clearly seen when the Saeima voted against allowing the Corruption Prevention Bureau to search the residence of MP and one of Latvia’s so-called oligarchs, Ainars Slesers.