Ždanoka may get shot at Saeima elections after all

Kremlin-friendly politician and former MEP Tatjana Ždanoka may be able to run in Saeima elections due to be held October 6, despite earlier reports that she would be barred from participation, the LETA newswire reported July 1.

The Latvian Russian Union will make Ždanoka its No. 1 candidate in the Vidzeme constituency in the October 6 general elections, although the Constitutional Court recently ruled to keep in place the restrictions on participation of Soviet and Communist activists in the elections.

While it was originally reported that this would prevent Ždanoka from running, it subsequently transpired that though the Constitutional Court rejected Ždanoka's request for lifting the restrictions, it noted that the effective law provided a mechanism for individual review of the candidates.

The Central Election Commission, in checking the eligibility of candidates will have to determine not only whether there is a court ruling confirming the person's active participation in the Soviet and Communist organization but also whether the particular individual and his or her actions still represented a threat to the Latvian state and the principles of a democratic rule-of-the-law country, the Constitutional Court said.

The Latvian Russian Union said in a statement to the press that, as the Constitutional Court ruling did not amount to "a categorical ban", it will be up to the Central Election Commission to decide whether to allow Ždanoka to run in the elections.

The Latvian Russian Union on Saturday afternoon announced all its candidates in the upcoming general elections. MEP Andrejs Mamikins will be the party's No. 1 candidate in the Riga constituency. The Latvian Russian Union also named Mamikins, who has defected frmo the Harmony Party, its candidate for prime minister.

The Latvian Constitutional Court on June 29 ruled that the restrictions in the Law on the General Elections banning people, who were active in certain Soviet and Communist organization, after January 13, 1991, from running in the Latvian general elections, were constitutional "when appropriately construed," said the court's representative, Ketija Strazda.

The Constitutional Court concluded that the disputed legislative norm is an instrument protecting democracy, helping the country to protect its constitutional organs and state security institutions from persons that threaten the country’s independence and principles of a democratic state. The country has the right to require the persons who take positions of state officials to be loyal to the state.

Ždanoka relinquished her mandate in the European Parliament in order to spearhead the election campaign of the Latvian Russian Union ahead of the 2018 general elections in Latvia. She was a member of the Communist Party after January 13, 1991, therefore she turned to the Constitutional Court to rule on her eligibility to run.

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