Thursday, 14 May 2009

European Parliament elections 2009 (105): A volunteer's look at the elections in Latvia

Since I plan to go to Daugavpils in Latvia for the European Parliament election day, I was interested in how others might look on the situation in the country.

A German volunteer working in Latvia reports on from Latvia in an article titled "Keine Ahnung" ('No clue'):
"In a country that is not as big as Bavaria and that has not as much inhabitants as Saxony-Anhalt there are more than 10 parties running for the elections this year. The translations of the parties' names brings up illustrious names like "Latvia's Way", "People's Party, "New Era", "Latvias First Party", "For Fatherland and Freedom", "Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party", "For Human Rights in United Latvia", or Socialist Party of Latvia".

The first five are rather conservative, patriotic, and anti-Russian. The last three are rather belonging to the left-wing, pro-Russian side. In between there is the "Union of Greens and Farmers", which has not much in common with the Western image of a Green party; they are also quite conservative but more oriented towards the protection of the environment and the interests of farmers.

All parties have in common that they see a remarkable amount of reproaches for corruption and ... a frequent change of personnel. If a party becomes inconvenient for a politician, he just changes to the next one. And with the personnel also the thematic focus of the parties change, so that you don't have a voter base for parties but for individual politicians.

Regarding the election campaign for these elections, you can find giant billboards in Riga and also in other big cities, active street campaigning, flyers on sidewalks and in waste bins. The newspapers are full of electoral advertisement for individual parties, too.

On the other side, almost all students and pupils I have spoken with about the elections have to admit that they don't now much about politics. They don't believe any promise of any politician in Latvia. [...]
(own translation)

Under the category "European parliament elections 2009" I am following up national and European activities on the path to the European Parliament elections 2009.

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