Is polygamy the answer for Latvia?

The government formation process in Latvia is progressing slowly and painfully. It is as though a ship without navigation – Latvia has yet to find its way in the ocean of political roads. And this ocean I full of «icebergs» Latvia keeps bumping against. The latest one is National Alliance’s official candidate, an «expert» at resolving demographic problems Imants Parādnieks.

The biggest objections voiced so far are not about the possible formation of a new ministry but, rather, the potential candidate his party is trying to push for this post.

It is worth mentioning that prime minister candidate Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš has proposed forming a demographic affairs ministry. The National Alliance, likely fearing the possibility of losing its position «at the helm», is convinced that a new minister’s post is needed. On top of it, the party thinks Parādnieks is the best candidate for the job.

There is an opinion that the decision to pick Parādnieks for the post of welfare minister was very odd for NA chairman Raivis Dzintars because as a member of a conservative party, Parādnieks and his polygamous lifestyle do not represent the party’s values all that well, to put it mildly. However, even though Parādnieks was not elected to the 13thSaeima, Dzintars continues pushing him for high posts, making him out to be «a national expert in demographic affairs».

This causes an avalanche of questions as to how a political party that stands with conservative and traditional family values is able to push a person on record of having publicly said that «loving two women is no easy task»? Being married to one woman and having an affair with another – is this the kind of demographic ‘solution’ the party wants to cultivate by picking Parādnieks?

There are many different cultures and many definitions for the word «family». At the same time, National Alliance’s behaviour is rather odd in this regard. Is there really no better candidate?

The respect of traditional values and preach of virtues does not correlate very well with Parādnieks’ public statement in which he admitted having the seventh child being born out of wedlock. It should be added that Parādnieks did attempt to show up in public with his official wife during the pre-election period. But oh the faults of men – even then he could not resist appearing at the Song and Dance concert together with his lover.

Perhaps instead of traditional values, NA’s decision to pick Parādnieks lies in his history with Dzintars. This includes scandals and rumours that Raivis Dzintars and Imants Parādnieks had received more than EUR 100,000 and EUR 500,000 from the so-called «insolvency administrators mafia». Perhaps this made them closer. «A simple bribe,» as Juris Jurašs claimed. The questions is does this «simple bribe» form the strong ties between the two, and if so – is it the sole reason why Dzintars insists on making Parādnieks the «special minister» even though the man was not elected to the Saeima?

Truly the best candidate?

Naturally, when picking someone for the post of minister, that person should be well-educated and with considerable experience in a specific field.

Having received the qualifications of a mason and potter in the 90s and a Bachelor’s degree in Science of Law at the University of Latvia, Parādnieks spent most of his life in politics, including working in different committees. Aside from being father to seven children, he has had a hand in the foundation of Pūcīte children’s creative centre.

During Māris Kučinskis’ government, Parādnieks became the head of the Demographic Affairs Centre. IN this post he was frequently criticized for his narrow views on demography – that it covers a number of areas, not just birth rates.

Latvia’s population continues to decline. Because of that, demographic affairs should be a priority for both the Saeima and the forming government.

Experts have said the head of the Demographic Affairs Centre needs to understand multiple important aspects when proposing laws, such as the matter of women’s rights. Papardes zieds assocoatopm and Marta resource centre for women have stated on multiple occasions that decisions of Parādniek’s work group are aimed and creating legislative changes that significantly limit women’s rights in Latvia.

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