Saeima adopts lobbying transparency law after 15 years of debate

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In the third, final, reading, the Saeima supported the draft law on disclosure of lobbying on October 13. The idea of such a law had already come up in 2007.

The new law aims to ensure transparency in the process of representing any interests or lobbying, in order to promote public confidence in, drafting, adoption, or application of public decisions and public authority, as well as ensuring fair and equal opportunities for all individuals concerned to participate in the representation of interests, the Saeima press service said.

The draft Law defines the concept of interest representatives (lobbyists), defines the obligation to register representatives of interests, as well as the system for declaring interest representation activities. It is also intended to lay down the duties of interest representatives and public authority, as well as restrictions on activities in the process of representing interests.

The Cabinet, starting in 2024, is expected to submit a report annually to the Saeima on what has been done in order to achieve the objectives of the Law, as well as on future activities.

The law will enter into force on January 1, 2023. The register of interest representation and the declaration system will launch on September 1, 2025.

Latvian politicians began talking about the need for a lobbying transparency law back in 2007.

The first concept was developed in 2008, and the next in 2011. The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau then submitted to the government a draft law which was rejected by the Cabinet Committee in 2014 and repeatedly failed to push. In the same year, an informative report was also introduced, with a proposal to include the regulation of lobbying transparency in existing legislation. The debate on the need for new regulation of lobbying transparency surfaced in 2015 following the investigation of the causes of the tragedy that took place in Zolitude. In 2019 a working group was set up.

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