President Kicked Parliament On Latvia's Fair-Haired Folk Day
Latvia’s leggy blondes had already returned to their homes last night, following the annual 'Blonde Parade' in the capital city of Riga, when all at once it appeared that other event would outshine their march. In an extraordinary live television address, President of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers, announced he would call a referendum on dissolving parliament, which was only elected last October. The move took effect immediately, he said.
President Zatlers accused the parliament of lying and maintaining interests of oligarchs. He made his decision after the legislature last week blocked prosecutors from searching the homes of the controversial parliament member Ainars Slesers, who is also a well known businessman, in a corruption probe. Slesers was formerly deputy city mayor of Riga, minister of transport and before election to the parliament also chairman of the Riga Freeport’s board of directors.
„Better late than never,” marked Riga residents, gathering at the Riga Castle, the official seat of the President, to thank the head of state after the television address. The four-year term of incumbent president expires this July. Speaking to a Latvian Public Television reporter, students, supporting the president’s move, said that they did not see any other way for the changes to come.
The 'Blonde Parade' in Riga which was originally intended to lift spirits during Latvia's economic crisis, was taking place along the Daugava river embankment nearby the presidential office on Saturday. Speaking at the European Institute last month, Valdis Zatlers said "Latvia was arguably the hardest-hit country" in the latest economic crisis because the global downturn came at the same time as an independent dip in Latvia itself, CNN reported. Finally, Latvia’s President has unequivocally decided to support the efforts of country’s anti-corruption bureau vice-head Juta Strike who is leading investigating allegations of bribery, bribe taking and abuse of power by unidentified state officials.
Under Latvia’s constitution, a national referendum must be held on the fate of parliament. If people back the decision to dissolve parliament, new parliamentary elections are scheduled. If it is not approved, the president must leave office. Many of Latvians are feeling their spirits lifted, partly thanks to the blondes, too, and intending to back their president in the referendum.