Referendum fails to garner voter interest

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.

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

3 thoughts on “Referendum fails to garner voter interest

  1. its no one’s fault but your own if you didnt know about this. This has been a huge issue in Latvia for quite a while, and even on the front page of this web site. If you dont live in Latvia then the onus of responsibility falls on you to keep up, not on the state to notify every person with latvian citizenship living all over the world. Why not peruse the web from time to time.

  2. Referendum? How come as a Latvian Citizen I was not notified? That’s why I did not vote – but if I had – no way would the amendment be passed! Latvia has to get it’s act together for votes – either notify all citizens or cancel the vote.

  3. Re, the two above commentaries. Ja, that’s how it ideally ‘should’ work,(total agreement with amberdog)! That all of us, with roots in Latvia, keep informed and then act not just to make a good effort, but to produce results, which is the point A. Pastars makes. And if we bicker with one another, rather than getting a sensible and broad networking system together–which means improvement on what already is out there–then we will fail to tap in to good intentions–great potential here. Amen.

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