New Latvian political party off the ground

A new political party came into being in Latvia August 26, featuring several established politicians and an array of new faces.

Former economics minister Daniels Pavluts was elected leader of the new party, which has the unusual name 'The Movement For!', at a foundation congress in Riga on Saturday.

A total of 298 people registered as the members for the foundation of the new party, and Pavluts was elected as the board chairman with 241 votes for and one against with two abstentions.

MPs Ilze Vinkele and Ints Dalderis, formerly of the Vienotiba (Unity) party, political analyst Marija Golubeva, business lawyer Evita Gosa and businessman Martins Stakis are among other board members elected during the congress.

The congress also elected a Supervisory Council and approved the party's charter. The charter does not provide for organization of regional branches but the party can establish chapters to work on specific matters, explained Peteris Vinkelis, an advisor to Latvian MEP Sandra Kalniete (on the Unity party ticket) and a member of the Supervisory Council.

A regular monthly membership fee was set at EUR 10 but members with larger income will be paying EUR 15 or EUR 20 a month.

The Movement For! positions itself as a pro-European liberal-centrist political force and seems to take partial inspiration from the election success of French President Emmanuel Macron. 

Many of those at the congress who spoke to LTV said their motivation for joining was a desire to no longer mere stand on the sidelines and criticize politics, but to take an active role.

Five MPs who recently left the Unity party: Ilze Vinkele, Lolita Cigane, Andrejs Judins, Aleksejs Loskutovs and Ints Dalderis are among the party's ranks as their former party's fortunes have hit rock-bottom.

Among its stated policy goals is introduction of universal basic income, upgrading of the economy, accessible health care and an anti-corruption stance, according to the short version of the party's program approved at the foundation congress.

"We are for Latvia which has opportunities for everyone. We are for the free individual. We believe that everyone has the right to make their own choices and to bear responsibility for their decisions. We are for a consolidated society that eradicates poverty and encourages excellence," the document said.

The party will also seek to develop legislation for registration of single-sex civil unions and civil partnerships.

In an unusual move for a Latvian party, it has even made its basic principles available in English.

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