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Saturday 21.10.2017 | Name days: Severīns, Urzula
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Latvian Saeima repeatedly sets a 150 000 signature barrier for referendum initiation

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July 26, today, in the final reading MP’s repeatedly adopted amendments to the Law on National Referendums and Legislative Initiatives. These amendments will dictate that referendum initiators will need to collect 150 000 signatures (one tenth) on their own, if they want to initiate referendums on amendments to the Constitution, laws, or to initiate a referendum to dissolve the Saeima. These amendments will become in force on January 1, 2015.

This regulation means the cancellation of the current two stage signature collection process. It should be added that the President of Latvia Andris Berziņš previously returned these amendments to the Saeima for a repeat review.

These amendments also provide for the transition period until 2015 to have a threshold of 50 000 signatures for the first stage of referendum initiation. This also applies to referendum initiation on laws or the Constitution.

Current regulations dictate that 10 000 signatures are required to be collected and notarized in order to initiate referendums to laws or the Constitution. The Central Election Commission (CEC) is responsible for collecting one tenth of the required number of signatures using state funding.

During the transition period before the year 2015 referendum initiators will need to collect 50 000 signatures to initiate a referendum on laws or the Constitution. These collected signatures will then be required to be handed over to the CEC. The collection of the remaining signatures (one tenth) will be continued by the CEC. If the second stage is successful in collecting the required number of signatures, the CEC will then need to decide on the initiation of the referendum.

The opposition – Harmony Centre and the Greens’ and Farmers’ Union – has come forth with harsh criticism in relation to the ruling coalition’s amendments. On Thursday, July 26, representatives of a number of non-government organizations will gather in front of the Saeima, protesting against these amendments.

Ref: 104.109.109.2580


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