Viewing cable 07RIGA402
Title: Opposition nominates Aivars Endzins for President in last

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07RIGA4022007-05-25 15:44:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Riga
VZCZCXRO6954
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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251544Z MAY 07
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4060
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS RIGA 000402 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL LG
SUBJECT: Opposition nominates Aivars Endzins for President in last 
minute move 
 
 
¶1. (U) Summary: On May 24, the last day allowed for the nomination 
of presidential candidates, opposition party "Harmony Centre" 
(Saskanas Centrs, SC) unexpectedly nominated as its presidential 
candidate Aivars Endzins, former Chair of the Constitutional Court. 
Though his name has been surfacing as a strong potential 
presidential candidate long before official nominations, none of the 
ruling coalition parties had publicly considered him.  Harmony 
Centre Chairman Nils Usakovs stated that his party decided to 
nominate Endzins because during the 10 years of his chairmanship 
over the Constitutional Court he has demonstrated the ability to 
take politically independent and difficult decisions, proved his 
ability to stand above all political passions and fights, and has 
very high trust ratings in various circles, including among 
academics and civil society, and in the public at large. After 
Endzins' nomination, Sandra Kalniete (opposition party New Era's 
(JL) candidate) officially removed her candidacy and called on MPs 
to cast their vote for Endzins, although New Era has not formally 
endorsed Endzins. Two parties of the ruling coalition - the People's 
Party (TP) and the Unions of Greens and Farmers - commented that 
Endzins' nomination has not changed anything and the coalition 
parties strongly support their candidate, Valdis Zatlers.  Some in 
the coalition may try to use Endzins' background in the communist 
party to suggest he is a poor choice, but his record of supporting 
Latvian Independence at the end of the 1980's will likely make that 
a tough sell.  End summary. 
 
¶2. (U) BIOGRAPHY: Aivars Endzins was born in Riga on December 8, 
¶1940.  In 1968, he graduated from the Law Department of the State 
University of Latvia, later pursued a doctoral degree in Moscow and 
in 1972, was awarded a Dr.Jur. by the Law Department of the 
University of Moscow.  From 1963-1990 he was a member of the 
Communist Party and for some time served as a secretary of the 
Communist Party at the Latvian State University.  From the very 
beginning of Latvia's attempts to become independent, Aivars Endzins 
was actively involved in the restoration of Latvia's sovereignty and 
statehood: in 1988 he became a member of the Popular Front (Tautas 
Fronte), from 1990-1991 he was a member of the Latvian Democratic 
Labor Party, and also was a member of the Latvian National Movement 
for Independence (LNNK).  Endzins was elected in 1990 to the Supreme 
Council as a member of the Popular Front and was among those who 
voted for Latvia's independence.  In 1993, Endzins was among the 
founders of the political party Latvia's Way and was elected to the 
5th and 6th Saeimas as a candidate of that party.  During his years 
in the Saeima, he actively participated in the Saeima Legal Affairs 
Committee and was a member of the Parliamentarian Delegation to the 
OSCE.  In October 1996, he was elected as a judge on the 
Constitutional Court and resigned his seat in the Saeima.  In 
December 1996, he was chosen acting Chair of the Constitutional 
Court and in 2000, was elected Chairperson of the Constitutional 
Court, being then re-elected in 2003. In December 2006 his term in 
office expired.  Additionally, he was an associate member of the EC 
commission "Democracy through Law" and since 2000, has served on the 
editorial board of the journal "Administrative and Criminal 
Justice."  Currently he is a law professor and dean of the Law 
Department at "Turiba", a private university.  He speaks Russian and 
English fluently. 
¶3. (U) Since Endzins' nomination by Harmony Centre, he has received 
praise as a qualified candidate from several well-known public 
figures and political experts, and his candidacy appears to have 
broad public support (in 24 May's political TV talk show "What is 
Going On in Latvia?", he received 4-5 times more support than the 
other two candidates in an unscientific presidential candidate poll 
among viewers).  He has earned a favorable reputation during his ten 
years of chairmanship of the Constitutional Court, during which the 
Court made a number of politically-difficult decisions, many of them 
not favored by the ruling parties. Among those decisions were the 
removal of restrictions on broadcasting in minority languages by 
public broadcasters, ruling as illegitimate provisions which 
prohibited mothers of new-born babies to receive full child care 
allowances and work at the same time, and removal of a number of 
provisions restricting rights to freedom of assembly.  Since leaving 
the Constitutional Court, he has continued to be an active opponent 
and critic of the ruling coalition.  Endzins has publicly stated 
that there are oligarchs in Latvia and stated which individuals 
qualified as an oligarch (thus losing any possibility of official 
support from the ruling coalition, as all three names he mentioned 
are closely connected to ruling coalition parties). 
¶4. (U) One of consequences of Endzins' candidacy is the withdrawal 
of New Era's (JL) candidate Sandra Kalniete and her support for 
Endzins.  JL has not made an official statement about supporting 
Endzins and stated that Kalniete's removal of her candidature and 
call to vote for Endzins was her individual decision.  However, JL 
Chair Krisjanis Karins stated that New Era will most likely vote for 
Endzins. 
 
Waser