Pre-election campaigning will have to be mainly in Latvian language

The pre-election campaign must be mainly in the official state language – Latvian, according to amendments to the law supported by the Saeima in the final reading on Thursday, June 22.

53 members voted in favor of the change of law, while 10 parliamentarians voted against it.

During the pre-election campaign period, materials on electronic media radio and television programs, public use outdoor and indoor materials, periodical publications (newspapers and magazines), newsletters, books, and other printed publications and Internet-paid pre-election campaign materials shall be in the official language. This includes Latgalian and Livonian languages.

The use of the official language will only apply to paid pre-election campaign materials, i.e. parties, and candidates will be able to negotiate freely with their voters in another language. The exception is also the presentation of information on the websites of political parties and their associations.

During the pre-election campaign period prior to the elections of the European Parliament and municipal councils, the materials of the pre-election campaign may be provided with a translation into the official languages of the Member States of the European Union. 

The amendments stipulate that the State Language Center will also be able to perform the administrative process regarding violations in the use of the official language in the pre-election campaign.

A warning or fine shall be applied for violation of the procedures for the pre-election campaign or failure to comply with the restrictions specified in the Law.

The Law shall enter into force on January 1 2024.

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