Deadline day for Saeima election hopefuls

Tuesday is the last day on which candidates for October 4 parliamentary elections can register to get their name on ballot papers. 

By Tuesday morning, twelve different parties had registered more than 1,100 candidates hoping to secure a seat in Latvia's parliament or Saeima, Central Election Commission (CVK) secretary Ritvars Eglajs told Latvian Radio.

"We are expecting one more candidate list, which we have been told is ready, but it needs to be handed in by 6 p.m. That would mean a total of 13 candidate lists," Eglajs said.

After checking that candidates are eligible, CVK will randomly assign numbers to each candidate list via a lottery-type draw at the Saiema on August 8 that always has parties hoping to secure the number 1 slot. 

Failjng that, a 'lucky' 7 berth might be acceptable, but with 13 potential lists, unlucky 13 will not be regarded as a good omen.

However, instead of signalling a ramping-up of political rhetoric and party political advertising, Latvia's strict election laws place wide-ranging conditions on how media can report in the pre-election period extending 60 days before the vote.

The legislation is intended to create a level playing field to avoid big-spending parties monopolizing the airwaves, but it can also sometimes lead to bland political coverage at a time when voters are most interested in hearing what prospective MPs have to say.

As well as established parties, the elections will see several new political parties hoping to make an impression and at least hang on to their 1,400 euro deposits by securing at least 2 percent of the vote.

In order to secure Saeima seats, parties need to claim at least 5 percent of the vote. 

On election day, October 4, polling stations will be open between 7 am and 8 pm.

Voters unable to cast their votes on election day will have a chance to take advantage of early voting on 1, 2 and 3 October at selected polling stations.

Overseas voters can participate in the Saeima elections by voting on election day at one of the polling stations established abroad or by mail. Applications for postal votes must be received by 12 September.

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Politics
Politics