Plan to allow Latvian-only election campaigning rejected in Saeima

With the Latvian parliamentary election in October coming nearer, a proposal to allow campaigning only in the state language has been discussed in the Saeima, where it was rejected by the Committee of State Administration and Local Governments on Tuesday, June 5.

The amendments to the Law on Pre-election Campaigning submitted by the national conservative National Alliance in March had envisaged introducing a fine for campaigning in a language other than Latvian from 100 to 700 euros to a private individual and from 500 to 5 000 euros to a legal entity.

Opposition to the plan was voiced by the Committee’s Chairman Sergejs Dolgopolovs (Harmony), who argued that ethnic minorities in the country have both the right to express their views and to receive information in a language they understand.

Gunta Līdaka, a member of the National Electronic Mass Media Council, reasoned that the amendments come too late for the 2018 election as advertising contracts have already been signed with the media and that the plan would go against other laws that regulate the work of the media.

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