10 questions to: the Progressives

Ahead of October 6 parliamentary elections we bring you some question and answer sheets from each of the 16 competing parties, listed in the order in which they will appear on ballot papers. The fifth installment concerns the liberal-minded Progressives.

1. Do you plan to reduce public administration?

Proposals for reducing the number of ministries by a number of parties are populist misleading of voters which would lead to disproportionate concentration of power, reduced public influence on political decisions and the weakening of Latvia's position within the European Union (EU).

Public administration and the bureaucracy of civil servants stem from frivolous political decisions - the task of politicians is to reduce the administrative burden and increase the efficiency of public administration. The Progressives will evaluate the efficiency of state administration and strengthen the range of institutions: the State Environmental Service, the State Labor Inspectorate, the Consumer Rights Protection Center, the Competition Council, the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB), the prosecutor's office, and also create new labor and tax courts and increase the number of judges, in order to improve the efficiency of the judiciary and the speed of proceedings. 

2. What are the three ministries that you would most like to lead?

Ministry of Health, Ministry of Welfare, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (MEPRD).

3. In what way should the work of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) be changed?

KNAB needs political support for the elimination of high-level corruption, as well as additional funding for the effective implementation of this duties. In addition, it is necessary to ensure effective cooperation and support from the Office of the Prosecutor General.

4. Should Latvia remain within the European Union and NATO?

Latvia needs to support the federalization processes of the European Union, because only a globally strong and effective EU can ensure the defense of the common European values, human rights and the social model amid global competition. Similarly, the EU must be an independent source of funding for national governments, and a common European social model must be set up to redress social imbalances across the EU. Transatlantic security cooperation needs to be strengthened, maintaining NATO as a central element in the security architecture.

5. How and in what way should the fast credit business in Latvia be restricted?

More stringent requirements should be introduced regarding: the solvency assessment of borrowers, the rates and conditions for advertising, interest and penalties, as well as control over compliance with regulatory requirements. At the same time, people's financial literacy should be promoted.

6. What are the three measures in the economy that could significantly improve the revenue side of the state budget?

1. A progressive tax and fee system, which, on the basis of progressivity, applies the same income tax rates to all incomes - both salary, capital gains and other income.

2. Reform of the State Revenue Service (VID), focusing on combating organized crime and large-scale tax frauds.

3. Waiver of tax secrecy - Information about the income declared by individuals must be publicly available following the Nordic model as a tool for the eradication of the gray economy.

7. Do you support the Cohabitation Act, which would also provide a basis for legal relations for same-sex couples?

Of course. Support for the Cohabitation Law is one of the party's founding principles.

8. Would another President of Latvia be needed for the next term? What should the criteria be?

Yes. The President must have the personal capacity to represent the country internationally, as well as fundamentally defend democracy and be a champion of the rule of law. These abilities must be proved by his or her previous experience.

9. Which political forces do you consider as potential allies, and which would you refuse to work with?

The Progressives are ready to cooperate with all political forces that can agree on the implementation of the political agenda points, if these political forces are free from the influence of dirty money, do not participate in state theft and are not involved with unfriendly attempts by foreign powers to influence Latvia.

10. Do you support the planned transition in minority schools to study only in Latvian?

Yes, we believe that all children in Latvia must study in one school system, where the language of instruction is Latvian. The transition to teaching in the Latvian language must begin with kindergartens and primary schools in the near future. At the same time, minorities in the education system must ensure that their culture is maintained and preserved and their mother tongue comprehensively developed.

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