RIGA - Citizens will have the opportunity to express their discontent with the administrative territorial reform (ATR) in forthcoming local elections, President Egils Levits said in an interview to Latvian Radio.
Commenting on the critical opinions representatives of several local governments and organizations have voiced about the work style of lawmakers who quickly pushed the reform bill though the parliament during the Covid-19 emergency, Levits said that the parties concerned had been given the opportunity to voice their arguments.
"As far as style is concerned, there are two extremes - endless debating and a decision without the opportunity to present one's arguments. In this case, there was enough time for presenting arguments, which were assessed in Saeima," the president said.
Levits noted though that several lawsuits contesting the reform bill have already been filed with the Constitutional Court, adding that most probably, the court will take the quality of the debate into consideration when hearing the cases.
The president also indicated that those citizens who are unhappy with the outcome of the ATR will be able to express their discontent in the coming local elections.
"Saeima and the ruling coalition will be accountable for their decision. If it turns out that the reform does not work and that it does not have public support, it will affect these parties in the elections. This is a democratic process," the president said.
Lavits also warned that populism is threatening democracy in Latvia, while people's critical thinking skills are poor. The president believes that more should be done to develop people's critical thinking.