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Parliament gives nod to early elections law

  • 2009-01-29
  • TBT staff in cooperation with BNS

The People's Party's amendments would give lawmakers the right to dissolve parliament. A similar amendment proposed by the president would give the electorate the ability to dissolve parliament directly.

RIGA 's The Latvianparliament has given the green light to draft amendments to the constitutionthat would make it possible to dissolve the legislature and hold earlyelections.

The amendments, which were put forward by the rulingPeople's Party, would give parliament the right to dissolve itself with a votethat garnered support from two-thirds of lawmakers. The draft bill on Jan. 29was sent to committees for consideration.

Under the draft amendments, early parliamentary electionswould have to be held then no later than two months after the dissolution ofparliament.

Urging his colleagues to endorse the bill, Maris Kucinskis,chairman of the People's Party faction in the parliament, voiced a ratherpessimistic vision of the current tight political atmosphere and reiterated hisparty's position that the present parliament was unable to continue workwithout a new popular confidence vote.

Latvian President Valdis Zatlers has spoken against theinitiative of the People's Party to dissolve parliament now and has submittedhis own version of constitutional amendments that would require the support ofat least two thirds of voters who took part in last general elections todissolve parliament.

The president's proposals were also sent to parliamentcommittees for consideration on Jan. 29.

UNITED OPPOSITION

Opposition parties, meanwhile, have said that they wouldconsider working together in the next elections to gain a foothold strongenough to oust the current ruling coalition.

When asked about a possible joint program for the elections, the politicianswere not ready to answer. SCP co-chairman Aigars Stokenbergs said that the newparty is still developing new regional departments.

"We have understood that our objectives overlap in manyways... When they [regional departments] are ready, then the right moment willcome to sit down and discuss whether it is better to run for the electionstogether," Stokenbergs was quoted by the Baltic News Service as saying.

Asked whether the block of the parties might run together also in case ofearly parliament elections, the opposition lawmakers said that it will bediscussed and they did not exclude the possibility.

According to the cooperation agreement, an action council will be set up todecide on joint legislative and political initiatives, coordinated votes of thefactions' lawmakers, and necessity of various public campaigns.