|Chairperson||Anto?ina ?ena?eva |
|General Secretary||Miroslavs Kodis|
|Founded||February 25, 2017|
|Headquarters||Ernesta Birznieka-Upa iela 20, Riga|
|Political position||Centre-left to left-wing|
Green (Used in context of environmentalist policies)
The Progressives (Latvian: Progres?vie, Latvian: ['pg?esi:vi?]) is a social-democratic political party in Latvia. The party was founded on February 25, 2017. Since September 14, 2019 its leaders have been Anto?ina ?ena?eva and Edmunds Cepur?tis. The Progressives currently do not hold any seats in the Saeima or European Parliament.
The Progressives have stated that one of their main goals is implementing the Nordic welfare model in Latvia (the party's political programme is even called "Turning towards the Nordic countries"). The party's principles include implementation of a progressive tax system, responsibility towards the environment, fighting against corruption and the shadow economy, an active state role in the economy, dropping GDP as the main measure of development (in favour of others which take the well-being of society into account such as the Happiness index), gender and LGBT equality.
The party wishes to abolish Latvia's non-citizen status, held by over 10% of the national population, by gradually granting non-citizens citizenship status. As an initial measure, the Progressives support a policy of automatically granting Latvian citizen to any child born to permanent residents, regardless of whether or not they have citizenship themselves or whether they were born before or after Latvia's independence. In addition, they want to immediately enfranchise permanent residents to vote in local elections after reaching the age of 16, even if they do not hold citizenship. The party is supportive of dual citizenship among the Latvian diaspora. It supports further state funding for Latvian-language education (as well as a 0% VAT on books published in Latvian) and the granting of free Latvian courses for returning migrants and asylum seekers, while at the same time also supporting minority languages in the school curriculum as a form of cultural diversity. They define themselves as inclusive and oppose ethic segregation and discrimination.
The Progressives subscribe to a Pro-Europeanist ideology and support Latvia's membership in NATO. They are in favour of an EU army and believe that the EU should become a United Nations Security Council permanent member state, while at the same time desiring to abolish permanent members' singular veto power.
They condemn what they dub the "aggressive policy of the Russian ruling regime", while at the same time expressing a desire for improved relations with both Russia and Belarus, which they opine would happen trough "democratic processes" in these nations. They do not recognize the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and call for an investigation into what they dub as "human rights violations in Russian-occupied Crimea".
The Progressives call on the Latvian state to abandon neoliberal economic policies and the "Russian-style" of restraint toward economic interventionism, instead calling for active state participation in the national economy. They are in favour of trade diversification aimed at reducing Latvia's dependance on Russian cargo and advocate for state funding for small and medium-sized enterprises, start-ups and companies that adhere to their social and environmental criteria.
The Progressives participated in the 2018 Latvian parliamentary election. Prior to the election, they declined to join an alliance with the center to right-wing liberal parties, which was later created without the Progressives as Development/For!. They argued that staying out of the alliance was necessary to ensure that the party's left-wing policies and high standard for political donations were not compromised. The Progressives had a unique gender parity principle on their ballots, with all election list leaders being women. Their candidate for Prime Minister was Roberts Putnis. The party did not win any seats in the Saeima, receiving only 2.61% of the vote, but qualifying for state funding of EUR15,000 per year for surpassing the 2% threshold.
In 2019, the Progressives participated in the European Parliament election. They ran with the slogan "More Europe" on a federalist platform, with their main proposals concerning social policy and green politics. Although polling at 4.5% in March and 4.3% in April they ultimately received only 2.9% of the vote. After the election, on 28 May, Roberts Putnis resigned as party leader. That year they also organized a small protest against the Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria in front of the Turkish embassy in Riga, as well as pickets against a labour law reform that was deemed to degrade workers rights and weaken and labour unions.
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