Signature drive for Saeima recall surpasses goal

More than 200,000 signatures have been gathered in support of an iniative that could lead to citizens calling for dissolution of the Latvian parliament, the Central Election Commission in Rīga announced April 11.

That means proposed amendments to the Latvian constitution must now be considered by the Saeima. If the parliament accepts the amendments, it would allow voters to initiate a recall of the legislative body. If parliament does not approve the amendments, a national referendum must be called.

Provisional results show 213,751 voters in Latvia signed on to the initiative from March 12 to April 10, a commission spokeswoman said. At least 149,064 signatures, or 10 percent of the voters in the last parliamentary election, were required. The last two days of the signature drive saw a spike in interest among voters. Almost 70,000 signatures were added to the rolls from April 8 to April 10, according to election commission statistics.

Data for the number of signatures collected abroad at Latvian embassies, general consulates and consulates were not announced by the election commission.

Once the signatures are certified, which should be in about three weeks, the amendments to the Latvian constitution proposed by the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (Latvijas Brīvo arodbiedrību savienība) will be presented to the Saeima.

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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