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Maverick MP makes Saeima switch back to distance format

Not for the first time, independent opposition MP Aldis Gobzems was the center of attention in Latvia's parliament September 2 when his refusal to show a valid Covid test certificate - despite apparently having one - forced the Saeima to revert to its e-Saeima distanced format instead of holding a full in-person sitting.

Populist Gobzems, leader of the newly formed 'Law and Order' party, has already caused plenty of controversy with his eclectic views on the coronavirus and the means of countering it.

He was reported by Latvian Television as refusing to present a Covid test certificate, despite later showing journalists a claimed negative test in his possession. His objection was centered on the notion that his state of health was his own matter alone, LTV suggested.

However, with the full chamber unable to achieve unanimity, at 11 am the work of the Saeima was suspended because one unnamed deputy had attended the sitting in person without presenting a certificate or a negative test. The work of the legislature consequently reverted to a distanced format.

Ironically, one of the items on the Saeima agenda for the day is titled "On the exclusion of the deputy Aldis Gobzems from the Saeima sitting." That is related to a previous stunt in which he posed with a six-pointed star on his shirt, in an apparent comparison between himself and a concentration camp inmate which was widely condemned. It is proposed that he is excluded from the Saeima for a single sitting.

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