More than 13,000 Latvian citizens signed a collective initiative calling for Latvia not to join the Istanbul Convention or the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.
The Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee discussed the citizens' initiative, listening to the views of experts and civil society, and was inclined to support it and move it to view in the parliament, as previously reported by LSM.
On Thursday, however, the majority of the Saeima rejected the further progress of the initiative.
Latvia signed the Istanbul Convention seven years ago but still has not ratified it. The issue appears on the political agenda from time to time, but ratification of the Convention has never had enough support in the parliament. Rejection of the public appeal does not mean it is now a sure thing that Latvia will ratify. Of the three parties in the coalition, New Unity and the Progressives are in favor of quick ratification, but the position of the more conservative Greens and Farmers Union (ZZS) is far from certain. With the government holding only a slim parliamentary majority, even a minor rebellion among ZZS deputies could be enough to derail ratification if and when it comes up for a vote, with most opposition deputies opposed to ratification.
Although six European Union (EU) countries, (Latvia, Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovakia) have not ratified the Istanbul Convention on the Prevention of Violence against Women, the European Union has done so.
Ratification of the Istanbul Convention is one of the tasks on the agenda of the government of Evika Siliņa (New Unity) still to be carried out this year.
If you would like to read the text of the convention, you can do so here: https://www.coe.int/en/web/istanbul-convention/text-of-the-convention