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Sunday 28.05.2017 | Name days: Vilhelms, Vilis
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Five years pass since language referendum in Latvia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUFive years have passed since residents had initiated a referendum to amend the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia to make Russian language as the second official language in the country.

Saeima did not support the legislative draft because at least half of Latvia’s residents with the right to vote had to cast votes. Only 24.88% of residents with the right to vote had actually voted in the referendum.

The referendum of 2012 provided for the change of sections 4, 18, 21, 101 and 104 of Latvia’s Constitution.

This referendum had the largest number of voters in the history of referendums in Latvia since 1991 vote for democratic and independent Republic of Latvia. Voter activity was the highest in Riga, where 77.1% of Latvian citizens with voting rights had participated in the voting process. Activity was the lowest in Latgale (60.0%). 55.3% of Latvian citizens registered abroad had also taken part in the vote.

In accordance with Section 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, the Central Election Committee made the decision on 3 January 2012 to organize a referendum on 18 February 2012 for amendments to the Constitution. The question posed to voters was the following: ‘Are you in favour of approval of amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia to establish Russian language as the second official state language?’

To ensure amendments come into force, at least half of Latvia’s citizens with voting rights had to vote in favour of amendments – 771,893 citizens out of 1,543,786. Because only 273,347 people voted in favour of amendments, they were declined.

24.9% of voters had cast their votes in favour of making Russian language the second official language in Latvia and 74.8% of voters cast their votes against.

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