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Latvija in brief - 2012-01-26

  • 2012-01-25

On Jan. 19 Saeima recalled deputy Janis Urbanovics (Harmony Center) from the Saeima’s National Security Committee and voted in deputy Andris Elksnins (Harmony Center) to replace him, reports LETA. Elksnins was recalled from the Saeima Government Review Committee, with Urbanovics voted in to take his place. Urbanovics last week was denied clearance for access to state secrets by the Constitutional Protection Bureau. After the decision, the chairman of the Saeima National Security Committee Valdis Zatlers (Zatlers Reform Party) requested Harmony Center recall Urbanovics from the committee and delegate a different candidate. The Corruption Prevention Bureau launched an investigation into Harmony Center’s financial affairs before the 11th Saeima elections, TV3 broadcast ‘Neka personiga’ (Nothing Personal) reported. Harmony Center’s election campaign was non-transparent. The bureau is also checking the involvement of Russian political party United Russia’s consultants in Harmony Center’s election campaign. The investigators are also probing funding sources for the campaign to make Russian a second state language in Latvia.

Zatlers’ revolution continues. Saeima on Jan. 19 approved in the third reading amendments to the Saeima Rules of Procedure, which stipulate that several state officials will from now on be elected by open vote and not by secret ballot, reports LETA. The bill stipulates that members of Saeima Presidium, the ombudsman, the auditor general, judges, the head of the Constitutional Protection Bureau, the prosecutor general, the head of the Corruption Prevention Bureau, the head of the Central Election Commission and a number of other officials will from now on be elected by open vote. Also, amendments to the constitution were forwarded to Saeima committees which stipulate that the state president and Constitutional Court judges would also be elected by open vote.

The proportion of ethnic Latvians living in Latvia has increased by 4.3 percent since 2000 - from 57.7 percent to 62.1 percent of the total population, according to preliminary data from the 2011 population census, reports  Nozare.lv. The total number of ethnic Latvians living in Latvia at the moment is 1,370,703. The number of ethnic Russians living in Latvia has dropped from 29.6 percent in 2000 to 26.9 percent in 2011. The total number of ethnic Russians living in Latvia is 556,422. The number of ethnic Belarusians living in Latvia has fallen from 4.1 percent of the total population in 2000 to 3.3 percent in 2011. There are currently 68,174 ethnic Belarusians living in Latvia. The number of ethnic Ukrainians has dropped from 2.7 percent in 2000 to 2.2 percent in 2011. The number of ethnic Poles has fallen from 2.5 percent in 2000 to 2.2 percent in 2011. The number of ethnic Lithuanians living in Latvia has fallen from 1.4 percent in 2000 to 1.2 percent in 2011.