Sunday, May 06, 2007

Latvian presidency candidates: update 1

Eight months ago, I wrote about a supposed shortlist of seven candidates for the Latvian presidency that was behind discussed behind the scenes. With one month left until the election, there is not much left of that shortlist:

  • Sandra Kalniete: New Era Party is fully behind her. The bad news is that nobody else in the Latvian parliament likes New Era Party. Unless our current president dissolves the parliament between now and the election (given the confrontation between the president and the parliament over last few months, this is clearly a possibility) and there is a new parliament electing the next president, Kalniete is not going to win.
  • Andris Piebalgs: claims that he is not running. Prefers to stay in European Commision instead.
  • Ojars Kalnins: still on the list but is rumored to be closer to the end of it. His supposed disadvantages: fatigue with Latvians from abroad being in key decisionmaking positions and he might be easy to manipulate for political parties. Hmmm... I don't want a president who is manipulated by others, but wouldn't that actually increase his chances with parties in parliament? After the recent confrontation with Vaira Vike-Freiberga, they might like it!
  • Ivars Lacis: was offered a nomination by The Union of Farmers and Greens and he declined. One more candidate whom I liked is off the list.
  • Artis Pabriks: declined, after an analysis of his chances to gain a majority support in the parliament. Expressed discontent with the lack of transparency in the election process. Why are all candidates whom I like running away from being the candidates??
  • Janis Jurkans: I was very surprised by seeing his name on that shortlist eight months ago! I haven't heard about him running again...
  • Zaneta Ozolina: claims that she is not running and has not even been offered to run by any of the parties. I hope so. Eight months ago, she was an unknown. Over the last months, she has been more actively speaking in public and I don't see enough competency in her speeches. (The main gain from Latvia being in EU is being able to participiate in decision-making?? What?? Have we affected any significant EU decisions at all in the last three years??) Also, she was teaching "scientific communism" at a university during the Soviet era... former propaganda worker for the Soviet regime as a president is the last thing Latvia needs.

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