The Baltic Times
One of the most important issues is the President Vike-Freiberga critized the Cabinet of Ministers, Parliament and judiciary – all for various shortcomings and by doing so raised questions about overall competence of governance in Latvia.
On January 10, the President expressed consternation at the governments’ emergency amendments to a law on national security. The fact is the government used Article 81 of the Constitution – which states that the government has the right to pass law while the legislature is on recess. Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis was evasive for giving the answer to this.
On January 11, the president dressed down the judicial branch, suggesting that judges’ work was sluggish and ineffective. ‘It is surprising how often court hearings are being postponed due to incomprehensible reasons - either the lawyer has not arrived, which is his core job, or any of the defendants fail to show up,’ she said. She received a complaint about a hearing that had been postponed 15 times.
The president also pointed out discrepancies in the criminal code that allow ‘one law for the rich and another for the poor’. Last year, Parliament passed a law on the position of ombudsman, who is to serve a go between in conflicts involving the state and its residents and mediate disputes. The office by law became functional as of January 1, 2007.
Analysts were reluctant to see a common denominator in the president’s criticism of the branches of power, saying each case was unique. ‘I don’t think this is something extraordinary,’ said Janis Ikstens, a political scientist at the University of Latvia.…
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- The Baltic Times
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