Editor's note

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 26.06.2019, 23:32

Latvian political agenda: in line with the EU’s examples

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 23.01.2019.Print version

A long-waiting period for a Latvian government to take effect was not a disaster as one could imagine. A country without a “real” government is quite common presently. Recent Italian and Swedish political turmoil shows that situation can be worse…

Complicated issues of state governance have acquired considerable attention in political science recently. Previously, traditional free-market management, so-called laissez-faire system, did not leave much room for a state interference. It used to be an economic doctrine that restricted government regulation and interference into economy and commerce beyond a “necessary minimum”: numerous states around the world explore such a system.

However, in the European region, it is mostly a state-managed system which often creates certain politic turmoil, e.g. as it is in forming a government of “united interests”. Of course, in the last instance, it’s the people’s understanding of a functional democracy: in simple words, the people’s approach to a self-governance, as the word implies.

Italian example in governance

Political scene in Italy has been always full of unsettled compromises: during 74 years after the II World War there were 65 governments with all possible coalitions!

After general elections in March 2018, there were two main parties for forming a government (which is a rear situation in itself): so-called “5-stars movement” (headed by 31-old Luigi Di Majo) and Liga with Matteo Salvini as a party leader. After months of fierce negotiations, the two sides made a “contract” to manage and exercise the national policies.

In a simple way, the contract was really mafia-kind of  “division of power”: i.e. 5-stars party took such socio-economic spheres as labour market, general development, pensions, etc. The Liga took over the national defence, other internal security issues, immigration affairs, etc. In this way Italian elites “divided” national issues between the two “actors” in a mafia-type way: each was about to manage its “territory” without the other side’s interference! It’s like soccer game where each team plays by its own rules.

As a result, Liga’s boss, M. Salvini, also heading internal affairs ministry, manages vital national migration’s issues according his own preferences (better say, the American way), while the country’s prime minister, who is supposed to be a kind of referee, doesn’t interfere at all.  Another leader, Di Majo supports “yellow jacket” movement in France without even consulting the country’s foreign office, which is headed by his party-fellow, law professor Moavero.

In this way, both “camps’ leaders” attracted huge popular attraction by “confronting” France and Germany, which they accused of all Italian failures in economy and unemployment.             

Swedish example of “constructive coordination”

Major issues in the last national elections in May 2018, which the Swedish voters considered important, were immigration, healthcare, environment quality and integration.  

The “red-green coalition” of social democrats, SD and Greens, with the backing of Left party won 144 seats, which was however short of a needed majority; however, the social democrats' vote share fell to 28.3%, the lowest level in a century. The center-left bloc with 40, 6% and the center-rights bloc with about 40% “divided” the national political interests.

After about 130 days of negotiations, several Swedish parties reached an agreement: social democrats, SD (which run the country since 2012 with its leader Stefan Löfven), new moderates with liberal conservatism ideas (Moderaterna), Sweden Democrats (with social conservatism and nationalism), liberal and agro Center Party and Left Party (with “green” ideology).  

But the SD has shown this January that another way existed besides that of traditional blocking and polarizing (used to be in other countries): suggesting constructive coordination among the “center” and “liberals”. The latter received people’s appreciation as politicians put aside personal political/sectoral ambitions in favor of the country’s interests without exploring far-right nationalism feelings. As the SD’s leader underlined, “nobody got all, but all got something and the big winner was Sweden”.    

However, finally, on 18th of January the SD managed through a coordinated approach, which actually was a victory for the European social-democrats in general, as none of the EU “socialist” leaders could to power during a last decade.


Bottom line: may be present Latvian political elites and governing structures with 9 different political “interests” do not fit into the modern concept of European political culture. The possibility of cooperation only leads presently into a lot of trouble about “constructing” a functional state administration system.

Latvian constitutional principle of creating a welfare system - as an utmost goal in national development implies one vital purpose and/or aim, i.e. people’s welfare and happiness. Why it is so difficult to find a common strategy and consequential tactics towards that aim? 

All these questions are generally rhetoric: most people do know the answers. It’s funny that political elites pretend not to show a common sense…

On the other hand, it is seen in various countries that state affairs can survive without governing political elites: state administration functions anyway! Italian and Swedish politically turbulent scenes provide some examples to that extent and Latvian political elites have something to emulate or to choose from these examples…

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