President proposes revised national security laws

President Raimonds Vejonis has proposed amending a number of laws that would improve national security, one of which is, if Latvia comes under serious threat, the National Armed Forces can immediately launch self-defense measures - without waiting for an order from the commander in chief.

Janis Pleps, the president's adviser on matters constitutional, was asked about the three bills submitted to Saeima by Vejonis to upgrade legislation. He responded that "some minor technical improvements have been made so that Latvia's response to a threat is as 'operative and effective' as possible."

He added that "each military unit has its plan of action to carry out and must report on what is unfolding. Pleps commented that "no one will be able to say we didn't defend ourselves," apparently in an allusion to the limbo the country was left in when Soviet forces invaded in 1940 and President Karlis Ulmanis advised the population to stay in their places.

Pleps mentioned that in a state of emergency, assembling all the Cabinet ministers for a meeting would probably be problematic. Therefore, the Vejonis amendments propose a reduced quorum - the prime minister plus three ministers.

Vejonis previous job as Defense Minister probably also played a role in opening his eyes to the need for streamlined legislation. Though Latvian presidents have the right to propose legislation, they generally exercise the privilege sparingly.

That Vejonis has chosen to do just that within a few months of taking office suggests it is a matter on which he has firm opinions. 

As reported, the president has announced his intention to discuss the amendments with MPs in Saeima and has extended an invitation to them.

Politics
Politics