‘Yes’ vote would empower Berzins

  • 2011-07-20
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Should the Saeima be dissolved, President Andris Berzins is prepared to use his right, as provided for in the Constitution, to set the agenda for the Parliament until the 11th Saeima is elected, reports news agency LETA. Any further comment in this regard requires the July 23 referendum to have taken place, said Berzins’ press secretary Liga Krapane.
The president’s advisor on legal affairs, Edgars Pastars, is analyzing the legal aspects of the possibility that the president could temporarily have more power.

If the Saeima is dissolved, the president will only set the agenda for the parliament’s work, but not interfere with its basic principles. Saeima’s Presidium, committees and subcommittees will continue their work independently, but the presidium will not have the right to summon Saeima sessions, Pastars said.

At the moment, Pastars and other institutions are analyzing the legal principles for the hypothetical situation, but more detail will be revealed only after the nation will have expressed its will in the referendum.
Article 49 of the Constitution states: “If the Saeima has been dissolved or recalled, the mandate of the members of the Saeima shall continue to be in effect until the convening of the newly-elected Saeima, but the former Saeima may only hold sittings upon the request of the president. The president shall determine the agenda of such sittings of the Saeima. New elections shall take place not earlier than one month and not later than two months after disbanding the existing Saeima.”

It was on May 28, when then-President Valdis Zatlers proposed to dissolve the Saeima. Zatlers said that his decision was due to disagreements between the parliament and the judiciary, which surfaced, for instance, when the Saeima voted against allowing the Corruption Prevention Bureau to search the residence of Saeima member Ainars Slesers (For a Good Latvia).