Signature frenzy

  • 2008-04-18
  • In cooperation with BNS

Photo: Dave Di Biase

Signature drives seem to be the trend of the year so far in Latvia.A mere few days after the end of the signature drive to recall the Saiema,Latvian citizens now have the chance to sign on to another one. A signaturedrive in support of amending Latvia'slaw on pensions began April 16.

By gathering 11,989 signatures,  two parties, (Pensioners and Seniors Party,and The Association for a Different Political and JudicialState)started the intiative for the amendment increasing the minimum monthly statepension to at least three times the state welfare payment, around 45 Lats amonth.

Currently the state pension is about 1 time the welfare payment. Shouldenough signatures be gathered, the amendment will be turned into the Saeima forconsideration. If the Saeima rejects the amendment, a referendum will be held.

In order for a successful signature drive, 10 percent of voters (whoparticipated in the last parliamentary election) must sign the initiative.

The signature drive runs through May 15, according to the Central ElectionCommission in RÄ«ga.

In Latvia,622 locations will be open for citizens to sign on to the initiative.

But the signature frenzy doesn't stop there.

According to LETA news service, today, political opposition parties andindependent deputies have gathered the necessary number of signatures to demandthe resignation of Minister for Special Assignments for Electronic GovernmentAffairs Ina Gudele .

"This clearly shows how easy it is to destroy a politician. Gudele, whohad a birthday party [at the expense of the Ministry's budget], did not evenparticipate in planning the event. Now she will have to make a decisionherself," Brigmanis said, emphasizing that the party will definitelydefend her.

Gudele said after the controversy that she had considered stepping down, butchanged her mind after the board of the Union of Greens and Farmers told herthat she would have to continue as minister. Gudele paid the"seminar's" costs, LVL 790, to the State Treasury.

Saeima will decide on Gudele in the next plenary session next week.