Commission scratches 5 candidates from election, 7 more may face hook

And then there were 1,234. Latvia’s Central Election Commission has scratched from the Oct. 2 parliamentary election five candidates who have criminal backgrounds and who as a result are not allowed to run for office under the Saeima election law.

Oļegs Posadskovs and Sergejs Špaks of the leftist For Human Rights in a United Latvia (Par cilvēka tiesībām vienotā Latvijā, or PCTVL), Sergejs Simčaks of the pro-business Made in Latvia (Ražots Latvijā) and Andris Grīnis of the Christian Democratic Union (Kristīgi demokrātiskā savienība, or KDS) were dropped from the ballot because they have been sentenced for committing crimes, election commission spokeswoman Kristīne Bērziņa said in an Aug. 11 press release.

KDS candidate Zigfrīds Laicāns, meanwhile, has been dropped for committing a crime while mentally unstable. According to the Saeima election law, among those who may not be elected to the parliament are persons who “have committed a criminal offense in a state of mental incompetency or a state of limited mental competency or who, after committing a crime, have become mentally ill and are incapable of taking conscious action or controlling it and as a result have been subjected to compulsory medical treatment or their cases have been dismissed without applying such a compulsory measure.”

The removal of Posadskovs and Špaks leaves PCTVL with a total of 95 candidates. Ražots Latvijā is now at 85 candidates and the KDS is at 83.

The Central Election Commission took the action after receiving information about the candidates from the Ministry of the Interior. Their removal from the ballot leaves the number of candidates at 1,234. A total of 13 political parties or coalitions are fielding candidates for the 100-seat Saeima.

Meanwhile, seven other candidates are under investigation because evidence suggests they may have worked with the Soviet-era State Security Committee (Valsts drošības komiteja, or VDK). The Saeima election law prohibits anyone with such a record from being a member of parliament.

Under question are the candidacies of Ēriks Didrihsons of Saskaņas centrs, Aivars Saliņš of Par prezidentālu republiku, Ēriks Tīrums of Tautas kontrole, Arvīds Ulme of Zaļo un Zemnieku savienība, Roberts Gobziņš of Pēdējā partija, and Aivars Āķis and Rolands Zagorskis of Daugava-Latvijai.

Information about the candidates’ possible relations with the VDK was provided to the election commission by the Centre for the Documentation of the Consequences of Totalitarianism (Totalitārisma seku dokumentēšanas centrs).

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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