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Latvian opposition parties may pick their own presidential candidates

Photo: flickr.com/Saeima
Opposition parties in Latvia’s Saeima may pick their own presidential candidates. No names have been announced so far.

Leader of Harmony’s Saeima faction Jānis Urbanovičs says there is a lot of time left to make a decision. He explained that he is not currently taking part in ‘brainstorming’, but his colleagues are, and they have ideas about candidates.
 

Urbanovičs says the ruling coalition has picked a strong presidential candidate – Judge of European Court of Justice Egils Levits. However, according to Urbanovičs, it is bad there are no alternatives. Because of that, it would be better if there were other candidates. Nevertheless, Harmony will decide on candidates later, said Urbanovičs.
 

The Union of Greens and Farmers has decided to ask residents’ about possible candidates, said UGF board chairman Armands Krauze.
 

UGF is ready to propose its own candidate, but there haven’t been any discussions about any specific candidates, said the politician. When asked if UGF could pick Raimonds Vējonis as its presidential candidate again, the politician said he can neither confirm nor deny it.
 

Krauze allows that some coalition deputies may reconsider their support for Levits if opposition parties pick an equally respected candidate. In such a situation there could be two strong candidates, said the politician. He stressed that the president should be someone with experience, respect from society and be able to contribute to the country’s development, but whether or not Levits fits these requirements will be for deputies and residents to decide.
 

One of the parties part of UGF – Latvian Green Party – has decided to pick Vējonis as their presidential candidate, as reported by TV3. The decision to pick Vējonis was supported by both the party’s board and council. The party stresses Vējonis contribution towards increasing the country’s defence budget and his bravery in «opening the KGB bag». The party plans invite the president to stay for a repeated term in the next couple of days. Another member of UGF – Latvian Farmers Union – intends to decide on its candidate on Saturday.
 

KPV LV party’s Saeima faction member and so-called internal opposition member Didzis Šmits says he has personally talked to the council chairman of Latvia’s Chamber for Commerce and Industry Aigars Rostovskis about becoming a presidential candidate. Although Rostovskis said «never say never», he also mentioned he could decide in favour of becoming a presidential candidate, said Šmits.
 

He also allowed for talking to another potential candidate, saying that there should be competition among multiple candidates during elections. The politician said he does not doubt Levits’ accomplishments. However, he also said the next president of Latvia should be someone capable of unifying society and motivating residents for big accomplishments. Šmits also said it would not be right to approve a coalition president. He hopes the Saeima will pick a «people’s president».
 

According to unofficial information, part of UGF politicians allow for picking Vējonis for a repeated term. The decision on this topic has not yet been made.
 

Vējonis still hasn’t said if he plans to become a presidential candidate again this summer. «It’s neither no nor yes,» said Vējonis in an interview to LNT television channel. At the same time, what he said can be interpreted as plans to continue what he started.
 

The majority of coalition parties could decide to support Levits as presidential candidate. KPV LV Saeima faction plans to decide on its position on a presidential candidate.
 

Presidential elections in Latvia will take place in the second half of spring.
 

BNN had previously reported that the majority of Latvia’s ruling coalition may support Egils Levits as a presidential candidate.
 

So far support for him has been voiced by members of the National Alliance «All for Latvia»-«For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK», New Conservative Party and Attīstībai/Par! political association.
 

Support for Levits as Latvia’s next president has been voiced by 76 former Supreme Council members, including Georgs Andrejevs, Romāns Apsītis, Dzintars Ābiķis, Oļegs Batarevskis, Normunds Beļskis, Valdis Birkavs, Emerita Buķele, Velta Čebotarenoka, Ilma Čepāne, Alfrēds Čepānis, Jānis Dinevičs and Juris Dobelis.
 

Among Egils Levits’ supporters are also Dainis Īvāns, Tālavs Jundzis, Juris Karlsons, Ojārs Kehris, Jānis Kinna, Odisejs Kostanda, Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis, Jānis Lagzdiņš, Andrejs Panteļējevs, Einars Repše, Anna Seile, Vilis Seleckis, Pēteris Simsons, Kazimirs Šļakota, Andris Teikmanis and Andris Tomašūns.

BNN/LETA

11-04-2019
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