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Monday 24.02.2020 | Name days: Diāna, Dina, Dins

Those with voting rights are slow to sign referendum for municipal election regulations

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signature collection, Latvia, amendments, Riga City CouncilBetween 16 and 21 January, a total of 1 137 people with voting rights cast their votes in favour of the referendum intended to introduce changes to regulations that govern snap municipal elections, as reported by Latvian Central Election Commission (CVK) representative Laura Zaharova.

This means less than 1% of the number of voters required to initiate a referendum have cast their votes in about five and a half days.

Signature collection is performed for two linked legislative drafts. 1 137 voters have voted in favour of amendments to the Law on Elections of the Republic City Council and Municipality Council and 1 132 voters have voted in favour of amendments to the Law on Local Governments, as reported by CVK.

No less than one-tenth of vote-worthy Latvian citizens that had participated in the last Saeima elections or 154 868 people need to vote by 14 February in order to initiate a referendum on this topic.

Signature gathering will be taking place from 16 January to 14 February.

Amendments submitted for residents’ approval would allow electing Riga City Council for a term longer than five years in snap election.

The amendments halted in the Saeima suggest that in the event of a city council’s dismissal and if more than 24 months are left until the next elections, new elections are to be organized and the new city council is to be elected for the dismissed city council’s term. However, if nine to 24 months are left until the next election, the new city council is to be elected for the term left from the dismissed city council and a full four-year term on top. This solution is offered, according to authors of the amendments ‘to use financial resources more efficiently in the event of a city council’s dismissal’.

Additionally, the proposed changes provide for electing an interim administration for nine months in the event of the city council’s dismissal. The current term is 15 months, and, according to authors of amendments, the current order is unacceptable because for a long time the municipality’s work has been managed by people who were not elected to the city council and who do not have trust from local residents. In parallel to that, the parliament also has on hold the legislative draft on dismissal of Riga City Council.

Following a request from the opposition, Latvia’s President Egils Levits halted the approval of amendments to the Law on Elections of the Republic City Council and Municipality Council and the Law on Local Governments. Following the delay of declaration of laws, the ruling coalition has decided to postpone submission of the legislative draft for Riga City Council’s dismissal to the Saeima.

Signature collection is organized in 358 locations in Latvia and 41 in foreign countries. It is possible to participate in the signature collection process only by coming in person.

Signature collection in Latvia is performed four hours a day, weekends included.

More on this topic: CVK urges government to allocate around 915 000 euros for signature collection

Signature collection abroad is organized in Latvia’s embassies, general consulates and consulates. Signature collection locations have been established in 37 countries: Austria, Canada, Kazakhstan, China, Korea, Russian Federation, United Arab Emirates, United States, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Georgia, Estonia, India, Ireland, Italy, Israel, Japan, Canada, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Finland, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, Hungary, Uzbekistan, Germany and Sweden.

Troops and National Guard members stationed abroad participating in international operations.

Voters who are unable to come to signature collection locations because of health problems, will be allowed to give their signature at their location. To use this option, it is necessary to submit a relevant request by 14 February.

Latvian citizens 18 years or older have the right to participate in signature collection process. To provide their signature, citizens needs to have a valid Latvian passport or ID card.

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