Latvia finds solution enabling voting at any polling station in European Parliament elections

  • 2023-05-22
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Minister of the Interior Maris Kucinskis (United List) and Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Maris Sprindzuks (United List) have agreed in principle on a solution that will allow to vote at any polling station of one's choice in the European Parliament elections, Saeima Speaker Edvards Smiltēns (United List) and Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) told journalists after the weekly coalition meeting on Monday.

The solution agreed by Kucinskis and Sprindzuks provides for making the State Regional Development Agency, which is subordinated to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, "a strong national agency of digital affairs", which is expected to solve not just the issue of voting in the European Parliament elections, the politicians said.

The State Regional Development Agency in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior will be overseeing the IT systems of the Central Election Commission. In the future, the State Regional Development Agency, as the "system's architect", would be in charge of providing necessary software also to other state authorities, the prime minister added. 

A more detailed report to the government on this matter might be prepared in the next coming weeks. 

As reported, Karins previously instructed the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Regional Development, the Ministry of Transport and the State Chancellery to prepare and submit possible IT support solutions for the 2024 European Parliament elections.

This was done after the Central Election Commission, in a letter to the prime minister, outlined the problematic situation regarding the absence of essential IT support. The Central Election Commission stressed the need to provide an online electoral register as a matter of urgency.

As representatives of the Central Election Commission informed LETA, the upcoming European Parliament elections are a year away and the decision on who will maintain and provide the online electoral register and other IT systems necessary for the elections has still not been taken. The online electoral register would enable voters to vote at any polling station of their choice.

Central Election Commission chair Kristine Saulite indicated that the situation was very serious and that delaying the decision could jeopardize a successful organization of the European Parliament elections.