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Tuesday 20.02.2018 | Name days: Smuidra, Vitauts, Smuidris

Emotional debates break out in Saeima in regards to automatic access to state secrets

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUDuring the last meeting, very emotional debates in regards to automatic issue of access to official secrets were held. Proposals were voiced both in support of this and against. The proposal was declined in the end.

One of the supporters of this proposal, Valdis Kalnozols, said that Saeima deputies are representatives of the nation. ‘Stretch, straighten shoulders and scrape off all remains of your souls! Let’s show an example for residents on being the best rulers,’ said the parliamentarian calling for automatic provision of access to state secrets for deputies as well. «We, not the security services, are Latvia’s highest power. Our voters have entrusted us with representing Latvia’s interests,» said Kalnozols.

Kārlis Krēsliņš also voiced support for this proposal. He explained that Saeima’s Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee asked during a meeting how this matter is resolved in the EU and NATO member states. No answer was given in the end.

Jānis Ādamsons suggested supporting a similar proposal submitted by him. This proposal states that no special permit is needed for Saeima deputies that take office after giving an oath and signing a commitment to not divulge official secrets.

The parliamentarian said that the Constitution states that sovereign power in Latvia belongs to the people, who delegate 100 representatives to defend their interests. «But now certain officials question if 100 national representatives are even able to perform their duties. Such a decision is made by people who have not enjoyed trust from society,» said Ādamsons, proposing avoiding ‘pressure and puppeteers’.

But even Ādamsons’ proposal was rejected by the majority in the Saeima.

Saeima member Aleksejs Loskutovs sarcastically said that he ‘likes’ the argument of deputies proposing looking at themselves as carriers of the highest power in the country. «The country in which this principle works to the fullest is not that far away geographically,» said the politician, saying that in Britain the Queen does not have a driver’s licence. «Then, perhaps, if we are above all else, we should be provided with a driver’s license automatically as well?» Loskutovs rhetorically asked, inviting colleagues to be more realistic. He emphasized that checks for access to official secrets should be performed for deputies as well.

Parliamentarian Edvards Smiltēns said that it is no surprise that Harmony members «try to discredit Latvia’s state security institutions» in a situation of an ongoing information war. Nevertheless, «it is surprising that the same argument and style is used to defend this idea by a member of the political party of the ruling prime minister,» he added. Imants Parādnieks says Kalnozols wants other members of the parliament to be serious about their duties all the while being less than serious himself.

Jānis Dombrava emphasized that the proposal for automatic provision of access to official secrets would hurt Latvia. The deputy believes that it is more important to talk about how security services have not been sufficiently strict in their duties lately. «Because it is not clear to me how [Ilze] Pētersone-Godmane could stay in important posts for so many years and be provided with access to official secrets,» said the politician. He also said that some of the people previously provided with access to official secrets include Ainārs Šlesers, Andris Šķēle and Aigars Kalvītis – people known for lobbying Russia’s interests in Latvia.

In response, Kalnozols rhetorically asked why his colleague and other deputies do not love the Constitution. «Do you ignore and spit on the Constitution?! It clearly states: the Saeima checks the authority of its members on its own,» he said.

Artuss Kaimiņš also provided his opinion on Kalnozols’ opinion. «I think you really are crazy! You must not be provided with access of any kind,» said Kaimiņš. For this statement, he earned a remark from Saeima speaker Ināra Mūrniece about breaching the ethics code.

Saeima member Kārlis Seržants warned that proposed changes cannot be supported, saying that the proposal would cause distrust among NATO member states. Parliamentarian Ingmārs Līdaka mentioned that Kalnozols is not serious with his ideas.


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