100 days until European elections in Latvia

February 15 marks one hundred days until Latvians - and other European Union citizens resident in Latvia - get to vote in the next European parliamentary elections.

Polling day is May 25 in Latvia, while 26 May has been designated European Election Night across the continent. The first country to vote will be the Netherlands on May 23 and the last polls will close in Italy on the night of May 26.

May 15 will see a Europe-wide candidates' debate in the Brussels plenary chamber broadcast by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) between its perhaps better-known broadcasts of the semi-finals of the Eurovision song contest on May 14 and 16 (the Eurovision final will be on May 18).

Latvia is treated as a single constituency in these elections. Eight members of parliament will be elected to the European Parliament from Latvia. You can explore the current contingent at the European Parliament website.

Citizens of Latvia and citizens of other European Union member states residing in Latvia and entered into the Register of Voters have the right to elect the European Parliament. To participate in elections a voter on Election Day must be at least 18 years old. A publicity drive is underway to encourage participation using the hashtag #šoreizesbalsošu (This time I'll vote).

 

Each voter will be registered for elections at a certain polling station where he/she can vote on Election Day. Initially voters are registered at a polling station in accordance with their declared place of residence, but they can change their designated polling station until the 18th day before Election Day.

Latvian citizens are automatically included in the Electoral Register, but citizens of other EU member states staying in Latvia and wishing to use their electoral right in Latvia must register with the Central Election Commission till the 30th day before Election Day.

Voting options

The Law on Elections to the European Parliament provides for various options how voters can participate in elections to the European Parliament. They can

- vote at their polling station on Election Day from 7.00 to 20.00;

- vote early on May 22, 23 or 24, when the polling stations will be open for several hours a day;

- vote at the place of their location if voters are unable to come to the polling station for health reasons, voters are caregivers of ill persons or are imprisoned (prisoners can vote);

- vote abroad by mail or at the polling stations abroad.

At the same time, citizens of Latvia eligible to vote and residing in any of the EU member states can elect the European Parliament by casting their vote for one of the candidate lists submitted in the respective country, but voters will have to choose, candidates of which country he/she wants to elect, because it is not allowed to vote for both Latvian candidates and candidates from the country of residence.

To participate in the elections voters need to have an identity document - a passport or identity card.

The submission of candidate lists for the 2019 elections will be held from the 6 March to 21 March. Candidates’ lists shall be submitted to and registered with the Central Election Commission.

Political parties and alliances of political parties registered in Latvia and consisted of at least 500 members may submit a list of candidates for the European Parliament election.

Citizens of Latvia, as well as citizens of other EU countries who are residing in Latvia have the right to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament in Latvia. All candidates on Election Day must reach the age of 21 years and they should not be subject to restrictions established by the Law on Elections to the European Parliament.

Each party or alliance of political parties intending to participate in elections to the European Parliament may include up to sixteen candidates to the list of candidates – twice as many as the number of members of parliament to be elected to the European Parliament from Latvia.

Election organizers

The European Parliament elections in Latvia are organised by election commissions of three levels – the Central Election Commission, 119 regional election commissions and about a thousand polling station election commissions.

The Electoral Register in Latvia is compiled and maintained by the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, which is the main institution responsible also for the compiling of voter lists for polling stations and the e-service for changing of the initially prescribed polling station.

The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, the National Electronic Mass Media Council and during the elections – the State Police and the Municipal Police oversee the election campaign.

Elections to the European Parliament are funded by the state budget.

Further information

There are several helpful websites giving more information about the European parliamentary elections:

Central Election Commission

Website of the European Parliament Bureau in Latvia

www.soreizesbalsosu.eu

Voting opportunities in EU Member States

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