Coalition raises referendum ante

  • 2012-07-25
  • From wire reports

More signatures will be needed.

RIGA - The ruling coalition agreed on July 17 that, until 2015, organization of a nationwide referendum will require 50,000 signatures to be collected, which will be funded by the organizers of the referendum themselves, after which the Central Election Commission will organize the second round of signature collection, said Saeima Legal Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ilma Cepane (Unity), reports LETA.

According to the coalition’s compromise, after 50,000 signatures collected during the first stage of a signature drive for a nationwide referendum are submitted to the Central Election Commission, the commission will have to organize collection of the remaining signatures, and if one-tenth of the electorate’s signatures are eventually collected, the commission will consider announcing a referendum.
In order to organize a referendum on dissolution of the parliament, 10,000 signatures will have to be collected in the first round, and the Central Election Commission will have to organize the collection of the remaining signatures, said Cepane.

According to the ruling coalition’s plan, the two-round signature collection system will be abandoned from Jan. 1, 2015, after which initiators of a referendum will have to themselves gather 150,000 signatures if they wish to organize a referendum on amending the Constitution or a law, or initiate a referendum on dissolution of the parliament.
On June 28 President Andris Berzins decided not to promulgate the bill on the procedure for initiation of referendums, noting that the amendments proposed by the government were infringing on voter rights.
Cepane said that agreement had been reached with Berzins regarding the amendments, and that the transition period could begin either this September or in January 2013.