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Ceturtdiena 09.04.2020 | Name days: Valērija, Žubīte
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Latvia’s president may support restoration of Section 81 of the Constitution

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Artuss Kaimiņš, Covid-19, coronavirus, wash hands, ministers, Cabinet of Ministers, stay home, self-isolation, prime minister, Saeima, important, president, Egils Levits

Latvia’s President Egils Levits

Under a state of emergency Latvia’s President Egils Levits may support restoration of Section 81 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia in a modern redaction.

In an interview to Latvijas Radio, Levits said the Saeima, whose workers have been forced to self-isolate for two weeks after the news of Artuss Kaimiņš’s infection with Covid-19 was reported, remains able to make decisions while working remotely.

Nevertheless, the president would be prepared to support restoration of Section 81, stressing the choice is Saeima’s responsibility.

This section was excluded from the Constitution more than ten years ago. It stated that in the time between Saeima sessions the Cabinet of Ministers has the right to issue rules with legislative power if there is an immediate need.

Levits believes ensuring remote work of the Saeima is a technical matter, because there are multiple platforms that allow many people to connect simultaneously and work through video conference. Voting can be performed by participants raising their hands.

The president agreed that in a state of emergency it would make sense the Saeima to postpone decision-making on significant matters. For example, the parliament may postpone decision-making in regards to the administrative territorial reform.

Saeima speaker Ināra Mūrniece says the parliament’s Praesidium and the administration are actively looking for remote communication and work platform.

As for changing Saeima’s work in a state of emergency, it has been decided on politically, but last week politicians could not agree on changes, says Mūrniece, who hopes politicians will become more welcoming in order to secure quorum and transition towards remote work using the internet.

Read also: Latvian Prime Minister’s and several ministers’ Covid-19 test results turn out negative

Mūrniece says that since Kaimiņš’s infection two of Saeima’s buildings have been disinfected. Saeima deputies continue undergoing tests for Covid-19. As far as the Saeima speaker is aware, there has not been a single positive test result so far.

On Monday, 23 March, the government is to decide on organization of work during the state of emergency.


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