Parties concerned about security status of PM nominee

The six parties that are members of the government formation talks want to meet with Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis to discuss a solution to the situation in which prime ministerial candidate Aldis Gobzems (KPV LV) does not have security clearance, and his vetting procedure might take months.

Gobzems himself believes that it is time for a broader discussion on the security clearance system as it makes it hard for new politicians to work if they do not have access to state secrets, while other politicians object to reforming a system that has long been in place.

Gobzems said that KPV LV will organize a meeting with the president to discuss this matter. He said that it is not just a personal matter but a matter related with “potential threat to democracy”. More than half of the current MPs at the parliament are new and could face similar delays getting clearance.

Vējonis is on a visit to Afghanistan until November 29, but on Friday he has to participate in a number of events in Riga.

November 28 the latest government formation talks were held, nearly two months after October's Saeima elections. The next meeting is scheduled for November 29.

Another KPV LV proposal is to make government meetings closed. In recent years Latvia has blazed a trail for transparency internationally by live streaming most cabinet meetings. Under Gobzems' plan this would be abandoned, despite the party's previous tactic championed by leader Artuss Kaiminš of taking personal cameras into Saeima meetings and uploading the results for public consumption. 

Gobzems said that people should not worry about the proposal to make the government meetings closed because the decisions made by the government will be explained to journalists.

Meanwhile, potential cooperation partners are critical of these proposals. The National Alliance’s chairman Raivis Dzintars said that the party does not even consider a system that security clearance is automatically granted to all MPs. Dzintars said that the National Alliance trusts Latvia’s security institutions. He said that the party values democracy, but it should be balanced with security interests.

The National Alliance does not support the proposal on closed government meetings, however, had it been the last matter of disagreement in government formation, compromise is possible.

New Unity’s politician Edgars Rinkevics was skeptical about KPV LV proposals. He said that the current security clearance system is a balanced solution both regarding democracy and security.

Edgars Tavars, a representative of the Union of Greens and Farmers was not that categorical in his statements. He said that his party will not object to closed government meetings if decisions are properly explained, while the matter on security clearances still should be discussed.

For Development/For Juris Puce voiced clear objections to both proposals.

The New Conservative Party's chairman Janis Bordans later told LETA that JKP disagrees with both proposals.

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