No Saeima election run for Ždanoka

The Administrative District Court has upheld the Central Election Commission’s decision to ban Tatjana Ždanoka, the leader of Latvia’s Russian Union, from running in the upcoming Saeima elections, the LETA newswire reported September 3.

The court ruled that the Central Election Commission, citing opinions of the national security services that have been based on facts and their assessment, has with good reason concluded that the candidate poses a threat to Latvia’s independence and democracy principles.

The court’s ruling is final and cannot be appealed.

As reported, ten people in total have been found ineligible to run in the election due to various reasons.

The Central Election Commission’s decision on Ždanoka is based on an earlier court ruling stating that Zdanoka was an active member of the Communist Party after January 31, 1991, which under the Saeima Election Law makes her ineligible to run in Latvia’s parliamentary elections.

However, since the Constitutional Court has ordered an individual assessment of each such case to make sure that the person in question indeed poses threats to Latvia’s independence, democracy and rule of law, the Central Election Commission had requested additional information from the Security Police and the Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB).

The Latvian Constitutional Court on June 29 ruled that the restrictions in the Law on the General Elections banning people, who were active in certain Soviet and Communist organization, after January 13, 1991, from running in the Latvian general elections, were constitutional "when appropriately construed."

The Constitutional Court concluded that the disputed legislative norm is an instrument protecting democracy, helping the country to protect its constitutional organs and state security institutions from persons that threaten the country’s independence and principles of a democratic state. The country has the right to require the persons who take positions of state officials to be loyal to the state.

More than a decade ago Ždanoka took Latvia to the European Court of Human Rights over the bar on her candidacy in national elections (no such bar applies at European level). She lost on all counts.

Ždanoka relinquished her mandate in the European Parliament in order to spearhead the election campaign of the Latvian Russian Union. She has a reputation as a staunch supporter of the Kremlin, visiting Crimea during an illegal vote on the issue of Russia's annexation and has also been a supporter of Russia's intervention in Syria and its support for the Assad regime.  She has also been highly critical of NATO and the European Union's Eastern Partnership initiative.

The 13th Saeima elections will take place on October 6.

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