Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Latvian political party that I can believe?

One week ago, the first of the new Latvian political parties was officially established. Sandra Kalniete and Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis are now the leaders of the Civic Union (Pilsoniskā savienība) party. There are several reasons why I feel hopeful about their organization:
  1. In her interview after the first party congress, Kalniete said that Civic Union will be the party that tells the hard truths to the voters, instead of always saying what the voters want to hear. And, judging by how she was talking about the issues, that might actually be true, to a substantial degree.
  2. The party congress featured several supporters whom I highly respect. Like Juris Vidiņš, the 1980s leader of Helsinki-86. Human Rights Group Helsinki-86 was the first organization in Latvia to oppose the Soviet regime openly, back in 1986, when such opposition could still result in imprisonment. Being part of Helsinki-86 required a lot of courage.
  3. I have some (distant) friends who might be joing the new party. They have not been active in politics before but are highly competent civil servants. If the new party ends up attracting people of this type, they will do well on the competence side.
The skeptical side of me says that a fair amount of Latvian politics gets scripted. After all, I saw the rumours about Kalniete and Kristovskis starting a new party in Latvian press at least three months before the two quit their previous parties. On the other hand, I don't believe in people who stood up to the Soviet regime like Juris Vidiņš being part of a script. And, overall, I'm more optimistic about the new organization than skeptical...

3 comments:

Luarvik said...

The emergence of a new political party in itself is a scripted matter and usually leads to following: idealism, enthusiasm, soaring popularity, disillusionment, more than slight disillusionment, complete slump, just another party no-one really cares much for.
Rinse and repeat, so to speak...

localv said...

Well, Jaunais Laiks was also touted to be a breath of fresh air in Latvian politics, so to speak. And just look at them now. It is possible that this party will bring real change, however I will stay skeptical for now.

Elvin said...

To my mind everyone may read it.
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