Pre-election campaigns might only use Latvian language in future

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On January 19, the Saeima transferred to viewing in committees amendments to the Law on Pre-election Agitation, which provide that pre-election campaigns should be conducted only in the official state language, Latvian.

Changes to the law are directed by separate deputies from the National Alliance, New Unity, United List, and Union of Greens and Farmers. 

The amendments foresee that in electronic media programs and broadcasts, public outdoor and indoor use, and press publications, pre-election campaign materials shall be placed and pre-election campaign shall be conducted in the official state language only.

The requirement to use the official language would also apply to campaigns as a paid-for service on public electronic communications networks, including the Internet. However, this would not apply to the Internet home pages of political parties and their associations.

At the same time, it would be stipulated that during the pre-election campaign period prior to the elections of the European Parliament and municipal councils, the materials of the pre-election campaign will be able to contain a translation into the official languages of the Member States of the European Union, provided that the use of the official language will not be less than the content in a foreign language.

It is also proposed to specify in the law who will be the responsible authorities for the handling of infringement cases.

The justification for the amendments states that they will strengthen the position and presence of the official language in all areas of the country and society. “With these amendments, we also aim to eliminate the contradiction with the Constitution, which is currently maintaining a parallel language for communication with society in such a nationally fundamental process as the exercise of electoral rights,” explained the Members directing the amendments. 

 

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