Inspired by Anitas Kalmane’s post about Latvian candidates (thank you, Anita) I came up with an idea to explore more on young Latvian candidates.
I decided to interview 7 candidates at the age of 22 or 23. I found those people in Latvian social community portal draugiem.lv. Five of them replied.
I was interested how these young people who are in the same age as me perceive that they are younger and obviously less experienced than the other candidates. And what I found out about all of them - being young doesn’t make them less ambitious. Moreover, they tend to see their youngness as an advantage. “Of course, I realize that I am less experienced than older candidates, but in the same time I have clearer and fresher view on all the issues which is the basic for generating new and useful ideas,” says Mārtiņš Martinsons (1985), candidate for the Green party. Kristīna Lufta (1985), a candidate for Libertas.lv also stresses the innovative approach in problem solving, as well as the foreign experience what young candidates have gained. “We have other advantages than the older candidates, we have had the opportunities to study abroad, work in multinational projects and workshops and we can speak more official EU languages in a good level than the older candidates. There’s nothing I couldn’t learn in a short period of time to fulfill my MEP’s duties properly,” she thinks.
“Youngsters are more open minded,” states Krišjānis Bušs (1985), a candidate from the party “Society for other politics”. “They won’t stop at one solution and will seek for alternatives,” he assures.
“It’s not about age, but motivation,” thinks Arvīds Balodis (1985), not even a member, but supporter for the party “All to Latvia”. Arvīds is very motivated to defend Latvia’s interests. “I have my opinion about how Latvia should position itself in EU. Nowadays we cannot afford decisions which are unfavorable for Latvia, but harmonizing with EU politics. Therefore, I want to defend Latvia against EU interests,” says Arvīds who thinks that in order to candidate it’s not necessary to join a party; one just has to express his opinion.
Klāvs Vītiņš (1987), a candidate from “The National Party” evaluates his international experience, like active participation in Youth of European People’s Party “which is a typical start for candidating in EP elections”. Apart from his international experience Klāvs has been working as a deputy assistant for Uldis Briedis, a member of Latvian Parliament (Saeima) for 3 years.
The five young people I have introduced here are rather positive cases – they all are motivated, well educated and some of them have already started promotion on the internet. Of course, experience counts a lot, but I don’t see a problem here for their candidatures because of their youngness. Candidating doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be elected and most likely – they won’t. But it means that as young people they can also have their vision of how EU should work and what they want to do to defend the interests of Latvia if elected.
The same though cannot be said about all young Latvian candidates – especially some of them with secondary education and limited language skills don’t really leave a trustworthy impression. But that’s another story.