Saeima election set for Sept. 17

The election of the 11th Saeima—replacing the parliament that voters in Latvia and abroad fired in the recent referendum—will take place Saturday, Sept. 17, the Central Election Commission in Rīga has announced.

Political parties may begin submitting their candidate list on July 29, but the last day to file will be Aug. 18, the commission decided.

In all, the Saeima is composed of 100 members. Of those, 30 will be elected from the Rīga district, 27 from Vidzeme, 15 from Latgale, 15 from Zemgale and 13 from Kurzeme. Compared to October’s election of the 10th Saeima, Rīga has gained one deputy while Latgale has lost one, a commission spokeswoman said in a press release.

The September election is a result of the July 23 referendum in which almost 95 percent of more than 689,000 citizens voted for dissolving the current parliament. The referendum was brought about by then-President Valdis Zatlers’ call on May 28 to send the Saeima packing in answer to concerns about corruption and the political power of a handful of oligarchs.

Until the new parliament is elected, new President Andris Bērziņš may still call on the 10th Saeima to meet, the president’s press office announced July 26. However, sessions will be delierate and item will only appear on the lawmakers’ agenda if the Saeima and the coalition government have fully evaluated questions.

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