Zinātnes uzdevums –
kalpot cilvēkiem.

– Tolstojs –

Zinātne – kapteinis, bet
prakse – kareivji.

– Da Vinči –

Zinātnes robežas līdzinās
apvārsnim: jo vairāk tam
tuvojamies, jo vairāk tas
attālinās.

– Buasts –

Fantazēt ir svarīgāk nekā
zināt.

– Alberts Einšteins –

Zinātne – tā ir
organizētas zināšanas.

– Spencers –

Brīvība zinātnei ir tas
pats, kas gaiss dzīvai
būtnei.

– Poincare –

Izpētes lauks zinātnē ir
neierobežots.

– Paskāls –

Uz zinātņu sistēmu
jāraugās kā uz dabas
sistēmu: viss tajā ir
bezgalīgs un viss
nepieciešams.

– Kivjē –

Zinātniskais plāns bez
darba hipotēzes ir kā
skelets bez dzīvas
miesas.

– Hiršfelds –

Galvenais cilvēces
izpētes priekšmets ir
cilvēks.

– Gēte –

Zinātnē viss ir svarīgs.

– Heine –

Grāmatām ir jābūt
zinātņu rezultātam, bet
ne zinātnēm – grāmatu
rezultātam.

– Bēkons –

Zinātnieks nav tas, kurš
sniedz pareizas atbildes,
bet gan tas, kurš nāk ar
īstiem jautājumiem.

– Klods Levī-Stross –

Jo neatlaidīgāk mēs
meklēsim patiesību ārpus
sevis, jo vairāk mēs
attālināsimies no tās. Jo
vairāk mēs spēsim izprast
to, kas mēs esam, jo
vairāk apliecināsim
patiesību sevī.
– Antonio Meneghetti –
Pirms dabai pavēlēt, tai
jāpaklausa.

– Bēkons –

Īsts zinātnieks nav tas,
kurš ir vairāk apguvis,
bet tas, kurš ir vairāk
sapratis.

– Leibnics –

Zinātne – zināt esības
darbību.

– Antonio Meneghetti –

Zinātne ir cilvēces
labdare.
– Bertelo –
Sākums » Jaunumi » Latvia political briefing: Extraordinary elections to the Riga City Council, mitigating the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis and the new National Civil Defence Plan

Latvia political briefing: Extraordinary elections to the Riga City Council, mitigating the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis and the new National Civil Defence Plan

Original publication available at the China-CEE Institute website

Introduction

Government of Latvia continues to work on mitigating the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis and has reduced certain restrictions. It shows that Latvia has been relatively successful in terms of dealing with Covid-19 crisis. However, the central political event has definitely been the extraordinary elections of the Riga City Council, which, unfortunately, had a record low public activity since 1997. The results of the Riga City Council show that the elections were convincingly won by “Development / For” / “Progressive”, and 7 out of 15 lists entered the City Council. Furthermore, in order to increase Latvia’s defence capacities, adaption of the new National Civil Defence Plan has been an important step towards strengthening civil protection.

Cabinet of Ministers: the involvement of every member of society is important in limiting the spread of COVID-19

The Cabinet of Ministers, based on the recommendations of epidemiologists, decided to slightly reduce certain Covid-19 restrictions, considering that the increase in the number of cases in Latvia is significantly smaller than in other European Union member states. As the incidence of COVID-19 increases, Estonia and Lithuania have raised the threshold for the incidence rate to which travellers do not have to comply with self-isolation – from 16 cases per 100,000 inhabitants to 25. Health Minister of Latvia previously rejected the idea of such a step in Latvia, and still maintains this view. At the same time, there will be close monitoring so that a decision can be taken quickly on the need to return to stricter restrictions if the situation gets worse. From 17 August, up to 1000 persons are allowed to gather indoors, thus replacing the current restriction of 500 persons.

The limit on the number of visitors will no longer depend on the size of the premises. Event organizers and service providers will be required to develop a Covid-19 containment plan – this applies to both indoor and outdoor events.[1] The government has further supplemented the regulations, stipulating that educational institutions will be allowed to hire a registered medical practitioner for identifying any infection cases and for promptly preventing further spread of the infection in the educational institutions. The risk of infection abroad is significantly higher than in Latvia. In Europe, the incidence of Covid-19 has increased by about 19% in recent weeks, while in Latvia at least three in five cases is due to being abroad.

Drones will be used to monitor the borders among the Baltic States

The Cabinet of Ministers approved amendments to the “Regulations on Technical Means Necessary for Border Inspection and Border Surveillance”, which means that State Border Guard officials will be able to use unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in carrying out border surveillance in the future. Currently, border guards have used helicopters as the only type of aircraft, which serves as an effective tool to prevent illegal migration, illegal movement of excisable goods and other threats to the security of the state border. However, there are some disadvantages – the relatively high cost of operating helicopters, the dependence on meteorological conditions and the limited flight times, which can be avoided by the use of drones in border surveillance.

The Cabinet of Ministers adopted the new National Civil Defence Plan

The Cabinet of Ministers reviewed the state civil protection plan prepared by the Ministry of the Interior, which was developed by the State Fire and Rescue Service of Latvia (SFRS) in co-operation with other institutions. The National Civil Protection Plan is a planning document that is prepared considering the risk assessment carried out by the ministries, institutions and municipalities. [2]  Furthermore, the aim of the plan is to continue working on practical solutions to streamline civil protection and strengthen the State Fire and Rescue Service. The Latvian Minister of Interior has emphasized that the security and well-being of the society is a priority in the adaption of the next budget. The main task of this system is to ensure the safety of people, the environment and property by preventing potential threats and aiding victims in case of any kind of.

Extraordinary Elections to the Riga City Council – record low voter turnout

On August 29, the extraordinary elections of Riga City Council took place in Riga, where 15 political forces took part. In the three previous voting days and election day, a total of 171,591 voters or 40.6% of the eligible voters, participated in the election. This is the lowest voter turnout in the municipal elections in Riga since 1997. Comparing the turnout in the three municipal elections, this time more voters participated in the previous poll. However, according to the President of Latvia, this time the people who would have been hooked by loud slogans and populist promises skipped elections, adding that only the ‘’motivated voters’’ decided to participate, which is reflected in results. [3] According to provisional results, victory was held by the joint list of Development/For! and Progressive party, which together received 18 out of 60 seats in Riga City Council. Harmony is second with 12 seats, followed by New Unity with 10 seats. Seven deputies from the National Alliance and Latvian Association of Regions, as well as four deputies each from Latvian Russians Union and the New Conservative Party were elected.

Furthermore, The President of Latvia has said that the results are solid and satisfactory, however, parties should work on motivating the society to participate in elections. Covid-19 may be one of the reasons why the activity was so low, however, there definitely are other aspects that parties should analyse regarding the voting activity in the elections. In order to achieve efficient and successful work of Riga City Council, deputies should demonstrate self-discipline and switch ‘’from competition model to cooperation regime’’. [4] The president believes the new team in Riga City Council and potential coalition politicians have a vision for Riga’s development, which is why he puts a great deal of faith in them.

The new mayor of Riga

After the elections, the political forces of the newly elected Riga City Council have started negotiations on the formation of a coalition. “New Unity’’ and the New Conservative Party have expressed support for Martins Stakis, the leader of the winning list “Development” “/ For!” – “Progressive” (AP / P), to the position of the Mayor of Riga. In the election, Stakis received the most pros – 24,661, becoming a clear candidate for the Mayor position. The new Mayor has offered the partners of the potential coalition to divide the positions of the heads of the council committees according to the principle of proportionality – larger factions would have more positions. [5] Furthermore, no objections have been raised from potential partners to his candidacy.

Conclusions

Latvia continues to focus on the Covid-19 crisis, developing new guidelines in a number of areas and monitoring the current situation. September has been an important month for the Government of Latvia to reduce and change a number of restrictions. Although the number of Covid-19 cases has increased in recent days, Latvia continues to show relatively successful results comparing to other countries. Cabinet of Ministers have approved that from now, drones will be used to monitor the borders among the Baltic States. An important step in Latvia’s defence has been the adoption of the new National Civil Defence Plan by The Cabinet of Ministers, which will streamline civil protection and strengthen the State Fire and Rescue Service

Analysing the results of the Extraordinary elections of the Riga City Council, it is clear that voting activity was low comparing to previous elections. Turnout was the lowest recorded since 1997 at just 40%, with perhaps coronavirus fears and bad weather contributing to people’s reluctance to go to the polls. The leading party Development/For!/Progressives leader Martins Stakis has entered into coalition negotiations with representatives of New Unity, the National Alliance and the Latvian Association of Regions, as well as the New Conservative Party, and became the new Mayor of Riga. Despite the fact that voting activity was low, there is a generational change in Riga City Council.

[1] Mk.gov.lv, Cabinet of Ministers: the involvement of every member of society is of great importance in limiting the spread of COVID-19https://www.mk.gov.lv/lv/aktualitates/ministru-kabinets-ir-svariga-katra-sabiedribas-locekla-iesaiste-covid-19-izplatibas

[2] The Cabinet of Ministers adopted the new National Civil Defense Plan https://mk.gov.lv/lv/aktualitates/ministru-kabinets-pienem-jauno-valsts-civilas-aizsardzibas-planu

[3] Levits: results of Riga City Council elections are solid and satisfactoryhttps://bnn-news.com/levits-results-of-riga-city-council-elections-are-solid-and-satisfactory-216587

[4] Levits: results of Riga City Council elections are solid and satisfactoryhttps://bnn-news.com/levits-results-of-riga-city-council-elections-are-solid-and-satisfactory-216587

[5] “New Unity” and JKP support the promotion of Staķis to the position of the mayor of Riga https://www.lsm.lv/raksts/zinas/latvija/jauna-vienotiba-un-jkp-atbalsta-staka-virzisanu-rigas-mera-amatam.a372509/

*This article has been made in cooperation with China-CEE institute and is the intellectual property of China-CEE institute