media punk

On 28th of February the current (and the first in the history of Latvia) ombudsman Romans Apsitis will end performing his duties. His mandate period in this office ends, and a new ombudsman should be elected by the parliament. According to the plan, today (10th of February) was the last day to propose candidates. Unfortunately, the political parties have not been able to find a single person who would agree to put their name on the ballot. Three publicly proposed candidates have refused. It is impossible to not consider this a huge failure.

Of course, Latvian politicians do not have any interest in an institution that works as a watchdog and limits their capability of implementing unjust decisions. The strategy is therefore to choose somebody who is as harmless and inactive as possible in the office of ombudsman. Romans Apsitis has been exactly such person. And it is not just about the inactivity and confusing statements that have been made during the last 4 years. He also has been literally escaping media, thus damaging the public image of ombudsman office.

Now one of the ruling parties, Union of the Green and the Farmers, claim that the other ruling party Unity have “exceeded their quota” of putting men from their own ranks as key persons in different state institutions and companies. Still, they have not been able to name their own candidate for ombudsman so far. But wait a second, what quota? And for a political party? There is no quotas for political parties in the law of the ombudsman institution. The law says that any five parliamentarians can propose a candidate, and then the parliament votes.

What is is Romans Apsitis saying about this dubious, politicized way of choosing his successor? Nothing. Instead, in his last interview he said that sometimes he wishes he had a gun. A gun to shoot those individuals who send unsubstantiated complaints to him. And this is what he says instead of criticizing politicians  who are about to destroy the ombudsman office even more by putting some harmless political puppet as chief of this institution? Apsitis has nothing to lose – he is going to quit soon anyway, and he is in the age of retirement. But no. He is either silent or says something unbelievably stupid.

Perhaps the new ombudsman should get a gun. A verbal gun. And shoot with it regularly.

Didzis Melbiksis

Multilingual citizen. Europe, Sweden, media, politics.



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