Politicians serve own interests, voters complain

  • 2014-10-02
  • From wire reports, RIGA

Most residents believe that the extraordinary elections of the 11th Saeima have not changed anything in Latvia's politics, according to the latest DNB Latvia Barometer public opinion survey, reports LETA.

The 11th Saeima elections did not change anything, 41 percent of respondents said. Twenty-five percent do not believe anymore that dissolving Saeima can improve the political situation in the country, and 20 percent say that politicians are rather concerned about their own well-being, not the nation's.

Only 4 percent believe that corruption and oligarchs' influence on politics have decreased since the last Saeima elections.

The survey findings also show that 86 percent of residents believe that they have very limited opportunities to control politicians' work. Only 11 percent said they believed they had such opportunities.

"The survey's findings demonstrate that voters are extremely disappointed in the dissolution of the parliament in 2011, proposed by then President Valdis Zatlers. Possibly, part of voters who voted for dissolution of the 10th parliament truly believed that they were in charge of the country at that moment," commented public policy center Providus researcher Valts Kalnins.

However, looking back on what has happened since the 11th Saeima elections, most voters now believe that they have very few opportunities, if any, to influence something in Latvian politics, and this phenomenon needs to be discussed more extensively, he added.

When asked to comment the aspects that influence voters' decision to vote for one or another political party, 36 percent said they were looking at the parties' leaders, and 35 percent analyze candidates for MPs, including these persons' past activities. Twenty-nine percent vote for those parties or politicians who have good reputation (no public blunders, violations of the law, suspicions of corruption, etc.). Six percent agree that they take into consideration political parties' election campaigns.

"Voters who go to polling stations still do not analyze what a given party is planning to do and what its policies will be, they rely on individual politicians' reputation and political will. A political party is not considered a single mechanism that has to achieve what party members have been promising voters," said the Riga Stradins University Professor Ilga Kreituse.

DNB Latvia barometer is carried out on a monthly basis. The survey is made up of two parts of poll questions - one that is constant and featured in every survey, and the other that deals with the latest developments in Latvia.