Another signature drive seeks pension reform

Just a few days after the end of one initiative drive, Latvian citizens now will have the chance to sign on to another one. A signature drive in support of amending Latvia’s law on pensions begins April 16.

The amendment would increase the minimum monthly state pension to no less than three times the state welfare payment, which stands at LVL 45 per month. Under the current language in the pension law, the state pension is no less than 1.1 times the welfare payment. According to Latvia’s Central Statistical Bureau, the minimum consumer basket or living wage stood at LVL 154.67 in March.

If enough signatures are gathered during the next month, the proposed amendment will be submitted to the Saeima for its consideration. If the parliament rejects the amendment, a referendum would have to be held.

The amendment is proposed by the Pensioners and Seniors Party (Pensionaru un senioru partija) and by the Association for a Different Politics and a Judicial State (Sabiedriba citai politikai un tiesiskai valstij), a new political movement led by former regional development minister Aigars Štokenbergs. They gathered 11,989 signatures on a petition to start the initiative.

To succeed, at least 149,064 citizens, or 10 percent of the number of voters in the last parliamentary election, must add their signatures to the initiative.

The signature drive runs through May 15, according to the Central Election Commission in Rīga.

In Latvia, 622 locations will be open for citizens to sign on to the initiative. Outside of Latvia, citizens may visit one of 43 embassies, consulates general and consulates.

The Latvian Embassy in Washington, D.C., announced April 15 that citizens also will be able to sign the initiative from 10-11 a.m. and from noon to 2 p.m. April 20 in the Latvian Ev.-Lutheran Church, 400 Hurley Ave., Rockville, Md.

In Canada, the Latvian Embassy in Ottawa has announced that signatures also will be gathered from 9 a.m. to noon May 10 in the Latvian Canadian Cultural Centre, 4 Credit Union Drive, Toronto.

Further information on locations where the iniative may be signed is available from the Central Election Commission online at To be able to sign the iniative, citizens must be at least 18 years old, must possess a valid Latvian passport and must appear in person.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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