President: citizens should be required to vote

Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, in an interview with Latvian State Radio, said citizens should be required to vote, according to the LETA news agency.

A number of countries have compulsory voting laws, including Belgium, which claims the world’s oldest such regulation.

The right to vote is a foundation of democracy, the president said, adding that the alternative is dictatorship and chaos. Latvian citizens should not say their vote does not count, the president said.

LETA noted a mid-August survey by the Rīga-based research company SKDS, which found that 12 percent of those surveyed said they did not plan to vote in the Oct. 7 parliamentary election. Another 24 percent said they were undecided for whom to vote.

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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