Well-paid farewell for Lavia's MPs

  • 2002-10-24

At what is likely to be its final session, Latvia's parliament on Oct. 24 will debate a bill that would give outgoing deputies three months of severance pay when they leave office next month.

Drafted by the Saeima parliament's judicial committee, the bill would give 2,000 lats (3,076 euros) each to 67 lawmakers who failed to win reelection earlier this month, the parliament's press office said. An existing law entitles them to just one month's pay, or 655 lats.

The average monthly salary in Latvia in 2001 was 160 lats, according to the Central Statistics Bureau.

The total package would cost the legislature 134,000 lats, said press director Inese Aunina. If adopted, she said the parliament may have to dip into other areas of the national budget.

Only 33 of the current parliament's 100 lawmakers will return to the legislature this month, thanks to the success of new parties at the Oct. 5 polls.

Juris Dobelis, an MP who faield to win reelection, criticized the bill.

"Unfortunately, there will always be people who think about money and themselves before they think about the state," he said, adding that this attitude is part of the reason why political newcomers did so well at the polls at the expense of more established parties.

Dobelis, however, said he will abstain from voting because he is first in line to assume one of his For Fatherland and Freedom party's seats if fellow Fatherlander Girts Kristovskis is tapped to become defense minister.