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Ceturtdiena 09.04.2020 | Name days: Valērija, Žubīte
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Latvian government supports postponing Riga City Council’s snap elections until 6 June

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topical, Central Election Commission, Covid-19, 6 June, CVK, coronavirus, postponed elections, Riga City Council, government, VARAMLatvia’s Cabinet of Ministers decided to support Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry’s proposal to postpone Riga City Council snap elections until 6 June.

Considering the state of emergency in the country and the prohibition for public events, in the interest of public health and to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading, VARAM has proposed postponing the snap elections in Riga until June.

In the Saeima’s approved Riga City Council Dismissal Law it is mentioned that the election of the city council is to take place on the first Saturday two months after the coming into force of the law. In accordance with the decision made by the Central Election Commission (CVK), the date for snap elections of Riga City Council was originally set for 25 April. The first instance court had also decided that the date was picked mistakenly and that elections should take place a week later.

VARAM has since considered multiple arguments why it is necessary to postpone snap elections. The first argument was that the World Health Organization has concluded Covid-19 has reached the level of a pandemic. This was followed by Latvian Cabinet of Ministers’ decision to declare a state of emergency, banning also public events.

The ministry stresses that most of Riga’s election sites are located in general education institutions and other public locations. Around 1 700 people are involved in the organization of the election process. During the election process it is not possible to avoid contacting with other people and maintaining a safe distance is difficult. This is why the government was asked to postpone snap elections to a later date.

VARAM stresses it is not possible to submit a request for election site change in person, because customer service centres are closed for face-to-face services. On top of that, it is also not possible to organize full-scale promotion campaigns and meet with voters, ‘which is a major pre-condition for democratic elections’.

The ministry’s prepared legislative draft provides for postponing snap elections in Riga until 6 June 2020, stating that CVK is to announce them 14 April. In this case candidate lists are to be submitted on the 46th to 40th prior to elections. Amendments are needed to give more time to check information about candidates by Interior Affairs Ministry’s Penalties Register and Centre for the Documentation of the Consequences of Totalitarianism.


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