A national referendum to strike controversial amendments to two of Latvia’s national security laws has failed to gather enough voters, but otherwise results show resounding opposition to the government.
A total of 337,897 citizens voted in Latvia and abroad in the July 7 referendum, which was more than 115,000 short of the number required to make it count. At least 50 percent of the number of voters in the 2006 Saeima election—a total of 453,730—had to participate.
That enough interest in the vote could not be generated is being viewed by some politicians as a sign that the government opposition is weak.
Those who did vote, however, cast strong votes in favor of annulling the amendments first approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in January. On both of two referendum questions, more than 95 percent of those voting said they were for striking the amendments, according to results tallied by the Central Election Commission in Rīga.
At the Latvian community center in Indianapolis, voters came in spurts. Some drove themselves to the polling station, while others took advantage of a minibus provided by the American Latvian Association that ferried voters from the 12th National Latvian Song and Dance Festival taking place downtown. By the end of the day, said election judge Sanita Pēkale, a total of 308 Latvian citizens had voted in Indianapolis.
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