A month before the Oct. 2 Saeima election, a new independent website designed to bring Latvia’s voters and parliamentary candidates together to discuss issues has been opened by the Rīga-based public policy center Providus.
Called gudrasgalvas.lv, the site allows candidates for the 10th Saeima to post profiles and issues statements, while voters can pose questions to the candidates, Providus announced in a press release.
“We want to leave to the past those times when the main election communication was one-way—the candidate communicates through a commercial, the voter watches without a word,” Vita Tērauda, director of Providus, said in the press release. “The thickness of a party’s wallet should not determine the possibility and frequency of communication.”
More than 260 candidate profiles have already been posted to the website, according to the press release. More than 1,200 candidates from 13 parties are running for election.
To encourage participation, Providus is offering diplomas to the most active users of the website.
The Providus-run gudrasgalvas.lv is not the only independent website recently created to foster discussion before the election. Other sites include:
- desmitnieks.lv, sponsored by the Latvian Aid Committee of Sweden (Zviedrijas Latviešu palīdzības komiteja) and meant for Latvian citizens abroad. The site—and an analagous print version, Desmitnieks, that appears as a supplement to the exile newspaper Brīvā Latvija—poses one question per week to the political parties and provides an expert’s analysis of the responses. The site opened Aug. 16.
- parunpret.lv, a project of the “Domā, par ko balso!” movement and backed by the Soros Foundation-Latvia, mostly offers links to analytical articles about politics in Latvia. The site includes a study by the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (Latvijas Brīvo arodbiedrību savienība) of whether parties serving in the current Saeima kept their campaign promises.
- ejambalsot.lv, an effort to foster civic involvement in the political process, began in February. Backed by the World Federation of Free Latvians (Pasaules brīvo latviešu apvienība), the Election Reform Society (Vēlēšanu reformas biedrība) and a number of other organizations of Latvians abroad, the website offers a series of challenges to voters, politicians, the media and other organizations on how to better the political process.
- kandidatiuzdelnas.lv, created by the Rīga-based anti-corruption watchdog organization Delna, offers a database to examine the reputations of parliamentary candidates. The site also publishes analytical articles about the political process in Latvia.
- Pirmā reize, a page on the social network draugiem.lv, aims to help young voters evaluate Latvian politicians. The page is backed by the family planning and sexual health association Papardes zieds, the Latvian National Coalition for Tobacco and Alcohol Control (Tabakas un alkohola kontroles Latvijas nacionālā koalīcija) and various youth organizations. The page includes a video gallery of various politicians’ comments on education, health and politics.
The public policy center Providus has opened a website devoted to fostering communication between Latvian voters and candidates for the 10th Saeima.
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