TV3 News is starting to present the political forces that will run in the extraordinary elections of the Riga City Council on August 29. As the first – “For Development / For!” and a business card for the “Progressive” candidate list.
Two and a half weeks before the election, and gradually all the political forces that are running for it, this pre-election campaign, which is jerky to the ground, is coming to the finish line. Elections have been postponed twice due to the spread of Covid-19. We will start the series of stories about Riga’s key lovers with the initiators of this whole situation. Right after “For Development / About!” At the instigation of Minister Juris Pūce, the Saeima dismissed the previous convocation of the Riga City Council. For this election “For Development / For!” “Progressive” have also gathered.
“For Development / About!” represents the liberal wing of Latvian politics. The anchor parties of the association are “Movement For!” and “Development of Latvia”, which have also been joined by the party “Growth”. Currently, the political force in the Saeima is represented by 13 deputies and with three ministers is part of the government of Krišjānis Kariņš (JV). The history is different for each party.
“For the Development of Latvia” was founded in 2013 on the initiative of former Prime Minister Einars Repše. It quickly gained fame among political competitors as a business project sponsored by lucrative entrepreneurs. The “development of Latvia” still has to justify it.
The initial success of the elections for “Latvia’s development” was quite gloomy, but a breakthrough took place in the 2017 local elections. In tandem with the Association of Latvian Regions and the current Saeima deputy Mārtiņš Bondars, it entered the previous term of the Riga City Council.
“Movement For!” In 2017, the former Minister of Economics Daniels Pavļuts became the party’s leader. Several former members of “Vienotības”, who initially joined the organization, but then back to “Vienotība” also gave their “sip”. Coming soon to the “For Movement!” There was a big decision ahead – whether in the 2018 Saeima elections to start together with “Latvia’s Development”.
In the end, the decision was to unite, which allowed for a worthy start in the 13th Saeima elections. The biggest achievement in the parliament is the administrative-territorial reform, but it was very unsuccessful to deceive doctors in the self-curated health care sector who did not receive the promised and statutory salary increase.
When the Riga City Council coalition swayed, “Latvia’s development” was ready to take over, also cooperating with deputies who had previously been political opponents.
When the Riga City Council was politically confused and collapsed, it was Pūce who encouraged the government and then the Saeima to decide on its dismissal. This also happened at the beginning of this year, and since then the municipality has been headed by an interim administration appointed by the parliament, headed by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development supervised by Pūce.
In preparation for the extraordinary elections, “For Development / For!” gathered the left-wing Social Democrats, founded three years ago, in the Progressive. So far, their political achievements have been modest, but in the last Saeima elections they managed to overcome the 2% barrier. It does not give a place in parliament, but financial assistance from the state though.
“Progressive” Mārtiņš Kosovičs is the second number in the joint list, the former basketball player Anete Jēkabsone-Žogota is the third. Other former Riga councilors, neighborhood activists, artist Aigars Bikše, as well as lobbyist Baiba Bļodniece, who has represented the builders and the so-called quick loans, are also running. Mārtiņš Staķis, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Defense, is the first and candidate for the position of the Mayor of Riga.
Looking back at the last years, he admits that walking with “Latvia’s development” is often discussed with other members, but it was the right decision. Otherwise, probably none of the forces would be in the Saeima: “I have never felt pressure when someone would tell me that I should vote like that. It has never been so. ”
In this term of the Saeima “For Development / Par!” also experienced a scandal – a civil case of Mārtiņš Bondars, in which his actions under the management of Krājbanka were declared uneconomic in all court instances. This momentarily shook the whole association and also the planned start together with the “Progressive”.
“As we had written in our statutes. The statutes were designed in such a way that no party or two parties could roll over the third party. Everything can happen only by talking and agreeing on each other, ”says Staķis, asking how the political force has dealt with this scandal.
Competitors are especially sharp for “Development / About!” accuses the defense of gambling. The stake explains that political power has a suggestion on how to put the field in order, but it should be at the government level, not the municipal level: “No adult can tell another adult what they can or cannot do. There are areas – alcohol, tobacco, including gambling – where there needs to be tighter government control. We offer our plan on this issue, not in a primitive way. ”
Like other political forces, “For Development / For!” promises to put the city’s infrastructure in order, make Riga greener, eradicate corruption, stand up for good governance and reduce the number of kindergartens. Unlike others, Staķis mentions environmental ambitions: “We have defined our long-term goal – a climate-neutral city. It may seem distant and unfamiliar to someone, but in reality it is about every Rigan and his quality of life. How green or not this city is, on what principles the streets are built and also what bills are paid. A climate-neutral city also means lower bills. ”
The political force intends to maintain discounts in public transport, to re-evaluate in relation to the capital companies of the City Council, whether it is really worthwhile for all of them to operate in the market, but strategically important ones, such as “Rīgas satiksme” or “Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks”.
“For Development / About!” and “Progresīvie” have drawn a red line for possible cooperation in the Riga City Council with regard to the long-term hosts of the Riga City Council “Saskaņu” and its former representatives, but not to the long-term partners of “S Harmonas” “Honor to serve Riga”.
So far, the prospects for political power look very good. Since the last months of May, the rating of this list has risen significantly, and the latest data show that almost 23% of voters would be ready to vote for this political force. Here, it is important to add that these data reflect only those Rigans who have already made a choice. Adding the undecided scene to another, but “Development / About!” and “Progressive” leaders anyway.
No one will give a clear answer, but there could be several reasons. First, at the beginning of the summer “For Development / About!” The completed administrative-territorial reform provided a lot of publicity for the representatives and the topic of Covid-19 was also still relevant. Secondly, during these months, the political machinery has turned and there has been active campaigning. “For Development / About!” and Progressive have declared their fourth largest spending on campaigning. They are mainly focused on outdoor and radio advertising.