Former PM and minister spoiled ballot papers in presidential vote

Take note – story published 5 years ago

Former Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis and former health minister Anda Čaksa (both Greens and Farmers Union party) both filled in invalid ballot papers in the vote to choose a new Latvian president and, according to LTV's De Facto investigative news show, did so deliberately.

With three names on the ballot paper to be filled in by each of the 100 Saeima deputies, the instructions to lawmakers seemed simple enough: vote for the candidate you prefer most and against the two you find less acceptable.

Yet when the votes were counted, the papers submitted by Kučinskis and Čakša had only a vote "for" one candidate, with the "against" boxes for the other candidates left blank. As such they were classed as spoiled ballot papers. 

It was initially thought that the mistake might have been caused by failure to understand the new procedural rules - previous presidential votes have been by secret ballot - but according to Kučinskis, the submission of an invalid vote in the crucial vote was quite deliberate, caused by his obligation to vote for his party's designated candidate and his personal belief that another candidate - Egils Levits, who won the vote - was better.

"It was an internal issue between the faction's discipline and their feelings. I think we've got a good president," Kučinskis told LTV.

Asked by LTV question why he did not try to persuade the faction to support his preferred candidate - plus a vote according to conscience on such a crucial matter as choosing a state president might have been understandable - Kučinskis replied: "There are tactical considerations.”

The former Minister of Health Anda Čakša acted similarly. She made a mark for Levits, but did not fill the rest of the squares, and the ballot was also deemed ineligible.

As previously reported by LSM, Egils Levits comfortably won the saeima vote and will take up his role as state president for a four year term okf office on July 8. Kučinskis was Prime Minister from February 2016 until January 23 this year.


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