Ždanoka quits Brussels to run Saeima campaign for party

Take note – story published 6 years and 4 months ago

The controversial politician Tatjana Ždanoka (Latvian Russian Union party) plans to leave the European Parliament and hopes to run in the Saeima elections due to take place in October.

Ždanoka told the LETA newswire that she has already submitted her resignation to the European Parliament and plans to return to Latvia in the near future. She hopes to lead her party in the upcoming Saeima elections, but her participation in the elections will be dependent on the Constitutional Court, leaving the possibility open that the move may be a ruse to draw attention to herself if she is not allowed to run.

She is currently serving her third term in the European parliament, having first been elected in 2004 and is seen as one of the most pro-Kremlin MEPs in the chamber.

The Saeima Election Law prohibits persons who after January 13, 1991 were participants in the Communist Party or the pro-Communist Interfront movement to run in Latvian elections.

Zdanoka was a member of the Communist Party after January 13, 1991, thus the Constitutional Court is likely to rule against her candidacy, which might give her an opportunity to publicize the "oppression" of Russians and more specifically herself in Latvia, which is a popular theme with the Russian government of which she has been a staunch supporter.

She approved the annexation of Crimea during an illegal vote on the issue and has also been a supporter of Russia's intervention in Syria and its support for the Assad regime.  

Recently she has been seen attending protests against education reforms alongside another controversial MEP, Andrejs Mamikins, whose opinions seem increasingly to coincide with Ždanoka's on many issues.

Mamikins has signalled his departure from the Saskaņa (Harmony) party and is believed to be in the process of forming a new political force. There is a clear possibility that might mean some form of future cooperation between the two. 

The Latvian Russian Union has gained considerable coverage during its campaign on Russian schools and in the wake of that, Ždanoka has freshly upgraded and updated its social media presence, a video explaining her decision to seek election to the Saeima posted in Russian on January 13.

"The only political force capable of organizing effective resistance to the elimination of Russian education is the Russian Union of Latvia. This was illustrated by the events of the last half-year," she says.

Regardless of whether or not she is allowed to run for the Saeima, the video says she will mastermind the party's election campaign and it is in order to do that she is setting aside her Brussels mandate, she explains.

Her place in Brussels will be taken by party member Miroslavs Mitrofanovs, she adds, with Mitrofanovs at her side and a selection of other party members lurking in the background like a Greek chorus.

You can hear a recent interview LSM conducted with Mitrofanovs in English HERE.


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