Restriction on Saeima deputies with no Covid certificate was wrong, rules court

A rule change that prevented members of the Latvian parliament, the Saeima, from participating in person in parliamentary sittings did not comply with the Constitution, according to a judgement of the Constitutional Court (ST) December 7.

"The Constitutional Court recognized that the norms, which stipulated vaccination against Covid-19 as a prerequisite for a Saeima member's participation in the work of the Saeima, do not comply with the first part of Article 101 of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court emphasized that every member of the Saeima plays a vital role in Latvia as a parliamentary democracy," said an explanation.

The ruling came after a complaint from former Saeima deputy Julija Stepanenko.

Although the ban was aimed at increasing the scope of vaccination, the court did not recognize it as a legitimate goal for restricting the rights of Saeima members.

"The Constitutional Court drew attention to the fact that, although solidarity with the public in overcoming the Covid-19 crisis and public trust in the Saeima and the policy of managing the spread of the Covid-19 infection implemented in the country are essential values, they cannot be recognized as a legitimate goal that should limit the right of a member of the Saeima to participate in the work of the Saeima," the ST said.

The full judgement is available online (in Latvian):

As LSM reported at the time, after some interim measures that saw different deputies sitting in different buildings for virtual sittings, the Saeima soon after switched to fully remote sittings during the peak of the Covid-19 epidemic. 

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