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Constitution preamble approved in principle

  • 2014-04-02
  • From wire report

RIGA - On March 27 Saeima approved the Preamble to the Constitution in the first reading reported LETA.
Proposals for reviewing the bill in the second reading will be accepted up to April 28. Saeima will also have to review the bill in the third and final reading.

Previously, when the matter was discussed by the Legal Affairs Committee members, Saeima Chairwoman Solvita Aboltina (Unity) emphasized that the Constitution needed to have a Preamble. This is proved by such developments as the proposals to hold a referendum on making Russian the second state language in Latvia.
It is good that the Preamble has been created at this particular time to reflect the given historic situation, and to make it clear that Latvia upholds European values, emphasized Aboltina.

Valerijs Agesins, deputy head of Harmony Center’s Saeima group, said that it would be absolutely wrong to attach a new Preamble to a document that was over ninety years old.
The Preamble may also contradict the Constitution’s Article 2, “The sovereign power of the State of Latvia is vested in the people of Latvia.”

The Preamble’s wording could offend a segment of Latvia’s society, who see it as division - the “right” and “wrong” citizens of Latvia. Therefore, the Preamble must be discarded, said Agesins.

Several experts also commented on the Preamble during the Saeima committee’s meeting on March 10.
One of the authors of the preamble, the European Court of Justice Judge Egils Levits said that the Preamble would not alter the Constitution in any way, only supplement the fundamental principles of the Constitution.
As reported, the Preamble states that “The Republic of Latvia, proclaimed on November 18, 1918, was created by uniting lands historically populated by Latvians, on the basis of the Latvian nation’s will and right to self-determination, in order to guarantee the existence and development of the Latvian nation, language and culture through the ages, and to ensure the freedom and welfare of the nation and every individual thereof.

The identity of the Latvian nation within the culture of Europe is based on the ethnic traditions of Latvians, the Latvian language, universal human and Christian values. The Latvian language is the basis for democratic participation and consolidation of society. The fundamental values of society in Latvia include freedom, integrity, justice, solidarity, equality, family and work. Each member of society cares for himself or herself, his or her loved ones, for the good of society as a whole, and treats his/her fellow man, the state, the environment, nature and future generations with utmost responsibility.
Being an equal partner of the international community, Latvia will protect its interests and contribute to humane, sustainable and democratic development of the united Europe,” the Preamble states.