Deputy might be expelled from Saeima for ditching online meetings

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The Saeima Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee has proposed the expulsion of deputy Didzis Šmits or repeated absence from parliamentary remote meetings, LETA reported March 17.

A vote on the issue has not yet taken place, but would be an extraordinary measure if approved.

Šmits has not attended a number of parliamentary meetings which have been held remotely in the e-Saeima system, introduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and therefore, at the meeting of the Committee, it was proposed to vote on his expulsion from the Saeima.

The Committee did not vote today, because the deputies considered that the views of the Saeima Presidium and the Saeima Legal Support Department should be clarified before dealing with the issue.

The relevant offer for the vote was made by referring to the Saeima Rule of Procedure, which stipulates that a deputy may be excluded from the Saeima with a decision of the Saeima, if he or she has not attended more than half of the Saeima meetings during one regular session for unjustifiable reasons.

Šmits explained at the committee meeting today that he did not participate in the Saeima meetings which are fundamentally remote, because “he took an oath to respect the Constitution and the laws”, in which the e-Saeima is not mentioned.

Making it a matter of legal precedent, Šmits said that the e-Saeima system could have been used only if it was included in the in the official Saeima Rules of Procedure.

The deputy said that the use of the e-Saeima system was not specified in the law, that there had been no other form of approval of the use of the e-Saeima, and that individual deputies had been prevented from debating whether this system was used in accordance with the rules when it was introduced in an ad hoc manner to keep parliamentary debate going when physical proximity is potentially disastrous.

Šmits was elected to the Saeima from the faction of KPV LV, but, as the party dissolved, he remains unattached.

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