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Opinion: will Lembergs double-cross Vejonis?

Aivars Lembergs/LETA.
This Wednesday Latvian Green Party announced Defence Minister Raimonds Vejonis as its official presidential candidate. The Union of Greens and Farmers will likely accept Vejonis as well. It seems he has the best chances of becoming the leading presidential candidate from the ruling coalition as well. However, Aivars Lembergs is not the kind to forgive and forget.

In his article for TVNet, Aivars Ozolins asked the question – will the post of President of Latvia be taken by a Latvian patriot or Kremlin-friendly politician. «In a broader scope – will we have a president elected by Lembergs and Harmony and generally supportive of Putin? Vejonis is certainly not this kind of person,» – Ozolins writes.

Vejonis is a candidate of NATO «occupants»

Lembergs is known for his objections toward the government’s desire to secure larger presence of NATO partners in Latvia. It was Lembergs who said NATO presents the largest threat to Europe, not «other countries». He also called NATO troops in Latvia «occupants», Ozolins continues.

This open pro-Kremlin direction has resulted in some UGF deputies voicing objections against Lembergs’ opinion. Defence Minister Raimonds Vejonis’ reaction to such an opinion was strict and clear. «Aivars Lembergs’ statements regarding NATO’s military presence in Latvia and its comparison with military occupation, as well as Lembergs’ decision to demand an apology from NATO Secretary General to Latvia and Latvian people falls against Latvia’s security interests and creates risks for state security,» – he said on 15 May, 2014.

This conflict has now reached a point when UGF is at risk of division, writes Ozolins. He reminds that Viesturs Silenieks, Co-Chairperson of the Green Party, has called Lembergs’ protests against Vejonis as anti-governmental and pro-Russian. He believes Lembergs’ personal opinion does not comply with Latvia’s interests. In response, Lembergs had to embarrass himself and explain that he has ‘no reason to serve’ Silenieks.

Although Lembergs eventually had to back off, Ozolins believes the man will have many opportunities to double-cross Vejonis and put someone else in his place instead in the near future.

«First of all, even after becoming the official candidate from UGF Vejonis will also have to rally support from other parties of the ruling coalition. If Unity decides to push with Artis Pabriks or someone else, and the National Alliance decides to put more pressure with Egils Levits, neither one of them will acquire the majority of support from coalition parties. Then it will be necessary to look for someone else,» – the journalist concludes.

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