Website weighs public mood on Presidential nominations

Take note – story published 9 years ago

With Latvia's next president due to be chosen by the Saeima or parliament within the next six weeks, a website is attempting to show the public mood ahead of the decision.

The website gives ordinary members of the public the chance to nominate and vote for their preferred candidates as a means of showing parliamentarians who has public support and who doesn't - something that has rarely played a role in Saeima's ultimate selection, which tends to throw up surprise nominees to the highest office int he land.

On Monday afternoon with just over 1,000 votes cast, politician Martins Bondars of the Regional Alliance political party was leading the way with 318 votes, suggesting that perhaps his party machine has been better organized than those of his rivals.

Second place was taken by former two-time President Vaira Vike-Freiberga. Though she has signalled no intention of running again, the 300 votes she has attracted signals not only her enduring popularity, but perhap the dearth of credible contemporary candidates.

Third place was occupied by European Court of Justice judge Egils Levits - a favorite among right-wingers for his work in drafting last year's controversial preamble to the Latvian constitution - while fourth place is taken by MEP and former Foreign Minister Sandra Kalniete.

Other candidates attracting rather less support include several Latvian sports stars and even one renowned motor mechanic. Well, if he can fix a car, why not the whole country?

Participation in the vote is limited to all adult Latvian citizens.

The site will continue to accept votes until May 18 - when the actual list of nominees is die to be revealed to Saeima and the country at large.

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