RIGA - One of the president's main tasks is to give the country and its people a hope for the future, Uldis Pilens, a presidential candidate and founder of the United List party, said in an interview on Latvian Television on Friday.
"Hope comes first, and along comes faith. Faith is followed by action, and then there is the result," said Pilens, adding that if elected president, he aspires to kickstart a process in which Latvians, through confidence in their own strength, would come to the right action that would yield a result.
Asked whether he thought this approach could be met with great skepticism in the general population, the presidential candidate replied that to prevent this from happening he would need to talk to people on all levels and in all regions to understand their problems and motivations in order to enable a change for the better. In this context, Pilens referred to his extensive and successful experience in business.
Asked to reveal what impression he would like to create of Latvia when he becomes president, Pilens said that he would like the rest of the world to see Latvia as socially, politically and economically active, as well as very open to strategic investments, particularly from countries of the transatlantic bloc. In the long term, it is important for Latvia to maintain its place in the international labor division process, so that the country does not become a redundant space in the global economy.
It is also important for Latvia to help rebuild Ukraine, which has been devastated by the Russian invasion. Pilens sees a huge potential for Latvia there and an opportunity to improve its economic parameters as well.
Commenting on the political intrigues surrounding the upcoming presidential election, Pilens, like Saeima Speaker Edvards Smiltens (United List), stressed that as Latvia is chairing the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and awaiting the NATO summit at this complicated time, it cannot afford to give the impression of a politically unstable or insecure country to its citizens, foreigners and potential investors. Consequently, in his view, the presidential election should not be linked to any changes in the government.
Pilens believes that if he had met with New Unity earlier, this party might have agreed to support him as the coalition's common presidential candidate, and would not have had to nominate Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics as its own candidate after incumbent Egils Levits withdrew from the race.
As reported, political parties represented in the Saeima have nominated three candidates for the post of president - the United List have nominated its founder Uldis Pilens, the Progressives have put forward governance expert Elina Pinto, and New Unity have nominated Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics. None of these candidates has a clear majority to win the elections yet.