Latvian-only pre-election campaigns conceptually supported by Saeima

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On March 2, the Saeima conceptually supported the amendments tabled by the National Alliance (NA), the United List (AS), New Unity (JV) and members of the Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS) to the Law on Pre-Election Agitation, which stipulates that pre-election campaigns should be conducted in the official state language, Latvian, LETA reported.

79 parliamentarians voted for the amendments, 9 against. All who voted against are MPs of the For Stability! party.

The amendments foresee that in electronic media programs and broadcasts, public outdoor and indoor use, and press publications, pre-election campaign materials shall be placed and pre-election campaign shall be conducted in the official state language only.

The requirement to use the official language would also apply to campaigns as a paid-for service on public electronic communications networks, including the Internet. However, this would not apply to the Internet home pages of political parties and their associations.

At the same time, it would be stipulated that during the pre-election campaign period prior to the elections of the European Parliament and municipal councils, the materials of the pre-election campaign will be able to contain a translation into the official languages of the Member States of the European Union, provided that the use of the official language will not be less than the content in a foreign language.

It is also proposed to specify in the law the responsible authorities for the handling of the relevant infringement cases.

The amendments still have to be seen in the Saeima in two more readings before they come into force.

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