MEP asks court to rule on anti-Soviet Saeima rule

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Member of the European parliament and leader of the Latvian Russian Union party, Tatjana Zdanoka has turned to the Constitutional Court with a petition contesting restrictions on Soviet and communist activists' participation in Saeima elections, LETA reported October 20.

The Constitutional Court has accepted Zdanoka's petition and opened a case to look into sections 5 and 6 of the Saeima Elections Law and determine if they are in line with articles 1, 9 and 91 of the Constitution.

Those sections of the Saeima Elections Law stipulate that persons who were members of the Communist Party, Interfront and other such organizations after January 13, 1991 may not run for parliament.

On the other hand, articles 1, 9 and 91 of the Constitution stipulate that Latvia is an independent democratic republic, that any citizen of Latvia who is more than twenty-one years of age on the first day of elections may be elected to the Saeima, and that all human beings in Latvia are equal before the law and the courts, and human rights have to be realized without discrimination of any kind.

According to the Saeima Elections Law, Zdanoka, who was a member of the Communist Party after January 13, 1991, cannot participate in Saeima elections. She is also banned from participating in local elections. However, different rules apply for European elections, and she was elected to the Brussels parliament first in 2004, being re-elected in 2009 and 2014.

She is generally regarded as being pro-Kremlin on most issues and notoriously acted as an unofficial election observer during the illegal Crimea referendum on secession from Ukraine, giving the process a clean bill of health. 

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