Democracy was the method Jānis Čakste chose for the development of Latvia. It was his decision, his path and his vision. Democracy also serves as the foundation of Latvia’s current development, stressed Ināra Mūrniece, the Speaker of the Saeima, in her opening address at the scientific conference dedicated to the 160th anniversary of Jānis Čakste on Friday, 13 September, at the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia. J.Čakste was the Chairman of the People’s Council, the Speaker of the Constitutional Assembly, and the first President of the Republic of Latvia.
Shortly after the founding of the Republic of Latvia, J.Čakste realised that democracy has to evolve to keep pace with current developments, noted the Speaker of the Saeima and emphasised that democracy and its ability to develop in line with everyday reality is an equally topical issue nowadays. I.Mūrniece pointed out that, along with the development of democracy, we must remember one of the great ideas of J.Čakste, namely, that the interests of separate groups must not prevail over the idea of the Latvian State.
A politician must be the harbinger of moral values, like J.Čakste, who could unite Latvians under a shared idea; he was proactive, steadfast and humble; he was inspiring, but could also encourage assent and reflection. These are the features that distinguish a statesman from a politician, asserted I.Mūrniece.
The Speaker of the Saeima pointed out that statesmen can be most easily recognised when political turmoil has subsided and we notice what has stood the test of time. “J.Čakste is one of the major statesmen who stood next to the cradle of the Latvian State and democratic values,” stressed I.Mūrniece.
In her address, Kristīne Čakste, representative of the family of J.Čakste, the statesman’s great-granddaughter, said that family shapes human personality and determines what decisions they will make in life. She underlined that the values that J.Čakste stood by – openness, belief in responsibility, in sustained efforts, in honesty and gratitude – are just as relevant today and that we should be ready to defend them in spite of hardships.
During the conference, K.Čakste introduced a new apple cultivar, created at the Institute of Horticulture, named Čakstes Auči (The Auči of Čakste) after the family home of the renowned statesman, to commemorate J.Čakstes contribution to Latvia. K.Čakste explained that J.Čakste had grown a large apple orchard in his family home Auči, once having planted over a thousand trees with his family in spring. The new cultivars will also be planted in Auči to help recreate the orchard in the family property in the historical region of Zemgale in Southern Latvia.
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