Zatlers dissolves parliament

  • 2011-05-30
  • TBT Staff

The president's speech came just days before parliament is due to vote on his re-election.

RIGA -- Latvian President Valdis Zatlers in a speech to the nation has called for the dissolution of the country's parliament, marking the first time in history that the president's most extreme power has been used.

The president said he made the decision in response to the rampant corruption in parliament, which recently voted to block the anti-corruption bureau from searching the home of oligarch Ainars Slesers.

"Sadly, I get the feeling that even though seven months have passed since the last election, the new Saeima feels comfortable in an atmosphere of political scheming, lies and all-permissiveness. I’m afraid that voters realise this, too," the president said.

Around 100 people gathered outside the president's palace in Riga after Saturday's speech to support the move.

The move means there will now be a referendum, to be scheduled by the central election committee somtime within the next two months, in which voters will have the chance to oust the parliament.

If the vote is successful, as many analysts and politicians have predicted it will be, it will mean that the country will hold new general elections.

The announcement comes just a few days before a presidential election in parliament in which Zatlers is one of two candidates. Zatlers said in the speech that he expects his chances of re-election to be hurt by the announcement.