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Latvian Corruption Committee Topic Brief

Written by Frank Pobutkiewicz

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December 28, 2017


Latvian Corruption Committee Topic Brief

Committee Overview

Latvia has been a nation plagued with instability and injustice since its initial establishment of independence from Russia in 1991.  Corruption, civil unrest, and a population that heavily sympathized with the Soviet Union all contributed to Latvia’s failure to maintain sovereignty, and led to its re-annexation after the second world war. Latvia’s fate was always extremely dependent on the international communities level of conflict with Russia, as after the cold war ended Latvia again gained its independence. Ever since, the fledgling nation has struggled to cultivate a prosperous economy, a fair democratic process,  a peaceful society, or a united front on the international stage. This committee will be tasked with carrying out the responsibilities of the Corruption and Internal Affairs Committee of the Latvian Parliament, a body which has, in the past, failed entirely at creating a stable and unified Latvia. There are many sides to this one overarching issue and delegates are encouraged to analytically explore and creatively solve the various facets Below is a rudimentary list of sub-issues that could be discussed in committee; however, delegate should go above and beyond this is list in their own research.

Issued to be Addressed

Protecting the Permanent Nature of the Latvian Parliament

Several times throughout the history of the Latvian Republic, attempts have been made to dissolve the democratically elected parliament. Most notably in 2011, the President of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers, moved to have the Parliament disbanded. While unable to directly take this action by himself, the President deferred the decision to the people by holding a national referendum. Zatlers accused parliament of disrespecting the authority of the nation’s judiciary after many members blocked an anti-corruption investigation. While this referendum failed and the Latvian Parliament continued to operate according to the Latvian Constitution, there is still a possibility of such a scenario happening again. Delegates must consider how their character would respond to such a possibility and whether or not the Corruption Committee of the Latvian Parliament should attempt to prevent such a referendum from happening again.

Press Freedom

Journalists across the world are often the proponents of political turmoil through the exposure of the corruption committed and lies told by government officials. The Latvian Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press to all citizens; however, various grey areas have impeded on the rights of many journalists. Parliament has acted positively in many scenarios including the passage of legislation to forbid hate speech based on race, religion, or ethnicity; however, the fact that libel remains a criminal offense has allowed many corrupt politicians to escape justice. In 2009, European Parliament member Aleksandrs Mirskis was questioned for his lack of military experience by journalist Gunta Sloga. In retaliation Mirskis accused Sloga of libel and was only proved wrong after a lengthy legal process that led to Sloga’s acquittal in 2011 by the J?rmala City Court, and In 2013, by the Supreme Court. Journalists are often heavily pressured by public officials to reveal incriminating sources for the purposes of official investigation; however, this official investigation is frequently corrupted and has led to the demise of the completely innocent sources. Delegates in this committee will be encouraged to debate the future of free press in Latvia and whether the government should increase or decrease regulations on independent journalists who may expose government corruption.

Democratic Process/Accountability

While the Constitution of Latvia established Latvia as a republic in 1991, the democratic process is often impeded by the selfish interests of the competing political parties. False campaign promises, election fraud, and lack of proper information dissemination has caused Latvian voters to feel disenfranchised and powerless. Additionally, nce politicians gain office they often act irresponsibly and frequently accept bribes or submit to exterior pressure to act unethically against the common good Members of the Latvian Parliament must find ways to reduce corruption in the election process and keep politicians accountable once they have gained office.

Economic/Resource Independence

Due to the nearly thirty year dependence on the Soviet Union, Latvia has struggled to establish economic and resource stability without the assistance and influence of exterior sources. The nations economic situation has been increasingly jeopardized by government corruption and lack of proper allocation of funds. Delegates must determine a pathway to economic stability by removing barriers to proper financial policy.

Additional Topics

There a countless number of factors that contribute to the unstable, corrupt situation in Latvian politics, while these four sub issues should be a focus of conversation and debate, to truly solve the issue delegates will be encouraged to do external research on other potential topics of discussion.

Committee Positions

Former Minister of Transportation Ain?rs Šlesers
President of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers,
Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs, and
Former Prime Minister Andris Š??le.
Solvita ?bolti?a – Unity Party/Unity Parliamentary Group
Inesis Bo?is – Unity Party
Ainars Latkovskis – Unity Party
Ints D?lderis – Unity Party
J?nis ?damsons – Social Democratic Party/Concord Parliamentary Group
Aleksandrs Jakimovs – Social Democratic Party Concord
Andrejs Klementjevs – Social Democratic Party Concord
Je?ena Lazareva – Social Democratic Party Concord
Aija Bar?a – Union of Greens and Farmers
Askolds K?avi?š – Union of Greens and Farmers
Andris Bui?is – National Alliance of All for Latvia! and For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK
Inese Laiz?ne – National Alliance of All for Latvia! and For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK
Aleksandrs Kiršteins – National Alliance of All for Latvia! and For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK
Artuss Kaimi?š – Unaffiliated Members of Parliament

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