Signature drive for Saeima recall closes in on goal

Two days before the deadline, less than 10 percent of the required signatures remain to be gathered in an initiative drive that could lead to a popular recall of the Latvian parliament.

A total of 134,966 signatures had been gathered at 620 locations around Latvia by noon April 8, the Central Election Commission announced. That’s 90.5 percent of the required minimum of 149,064, which is 10 percent of the number of voters in the last parliamentary election.

The signature drive began March 12 and runs through April 10.

The total number of signatures does not include the 11,095 signatures on a petition already submitted to the Central Election Commission by the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (Latvijas Brīvo arodbiedrību savienība).

The trade unions proposed the constitutional amendments that would allow citizens to submit a draft resolution calling for a referendum to dismiss parliament. Under current constitutional language, only the president can call for a referendum to dissolve the Saeima. But the president, who is elected by parliament, would do so with the risk of losing their job if the referendum fails.

The total number of signatures gathered also does not include those recorded at Latvian embassies, general consulates and consulates. As of March 25, just 119 citizens abroad had signed on to the initiative. The Central Election Commission has not provided more recent data.

If the required number of signatures is gathered, the initiative will be submitted to the Saeima. If the parliament accepts the constitutional amendments, they will become law. If the parliament rejects the amendments, a referendum must be called.

Provisional results of the signature drive will be announced April 11, a Central Election Commission spokeswoman said. Official results will be known in about three weeks.

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

One thought on “Signature drive for Saeima recall closes in on goal

  1. As stated, Articles 78 and 79 are subject to revision. It makes no sense to replace Article 78 with the proposed changes as it covers initiatives to modify any parts of Satversme and has nothing to do with Saeima or its recall. Also there is no logic in combining the two.. The changes should be an addendum to Article 64. I have not been able to find any changes intended for Article 79.

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