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Bondars: citizens do not want the President to be elected by grey cardinals in secrecy

Martins Bondars/LETA.
«The President of Latvia has the biggest say in matters of security and what should be done in the next four years. He is the Chairperson of the National Security Council, Supreme Commander and represents the country abroad,» – notes presidential candidate from the Latvian Regional Alliance Martins Bondars.

When asked what he would do in the post of the President of Latvia, Bondars told Latvijas Avīze: «The first matter for the next president to tackle is state security. The army is one thing, and they require increased funding. For example, if we know how many tanks there are near the border, we know how many anti-tank weapons we need to counter them. We know how many helicopters and aircraft there are, so it is clear how many anti-aircraft weapons Latvia’s army needs. Secondly – we need to include intelligence services as well. They also require funding and increased capacity in order to perform their duties more professionally. These matters should definitely appear on the agenda of the President of Latvia, because he is the head of the National Security Council. The third matter is internal security. This applies to the border guard and police. Both of these security institutions should cooperate with the army, especially under conditions of a hybrid war. We used to live in a world where police and army were separate entities. New they need to learn to work together. The fourth matter is foreign policy that serves the interest of national security. When we wanted to join NATO, we travelled to USA (and other states), we spoke with members of the Congress and Senate. Now we should knock on these doors again with clear message: we are interested in cooperation with USA and other NATO member states.»

«One other major aspect is that the economic bloc is more or less in the hands of the President, but matters of development of the national economy are in the competence of the government. The President should be engaged in these matters with soft power. If the government changes, the President should speak with the next head of the government in regard to necessary actions to ensure economic development. It needs to be written in the declaration. Then the President should follow the realization of planned actions. We expect economic growth to be 2% this year. This is lower than the previously planned 2.8%. These percentages include a lot of money provided by EU funds and the money sent back by Latvians who live and work abroad. Realistically nothing will be left of the 2%, so there will likely be negative growth. It needs to be fixed in order for there to be an expansion of business environment in Latvia. We cannot rely solely on money provided by EU funds,» – says Bondars.

According to him, allocation of money from EU funds is closely tied to the signing of the «right papers». Private money, on the other hand, flows to places where it is possible to earn money. It is the objective of the state to make sure there are no bureaucratic obstacles, complicated judicial environment or any unpredictable tax policies. The President can help open doors to foreign markets for certain enterprises.

«I would also like to emphasize one other important role of the President – put an end to the regional policy, so that Latvia does not become Riga with its adjacent park, where people rarely live. Latvia’s population outside of Riga continues to decline dramatically. This is why we need a policy that would show that the state can provide assistance to enterprises outside of the capital. This means that we would not ask a businessman in Engure to pay EUR 4,000 for electricity, which is an amount he is unlikely to return. It is the duty of the government, but it is the President’s duty to encourage others to look beyond Riga,» – believes Bondars.

He adds that «citizens do not want the President to be elected by grey cardinals in total secrecy. Such an approach is appropriate for the Vatican, not for Latvia. […] Politics consist of competition between personalities and ideas. It is the way things should be.»

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