The draft law provides for a number of significant changes. It provides that health care, long-term social care and social rehabilitation institutions and education workers should be required to hold a Covid-19 certificate. It is also planned to stipulate that the employer will have the right to fire employees who have not obtained a Covid-19 certificate starting October.
Opposition hopes to stall changes
Members of the opposition disagree with such changes. If they are adopted in the Saeima, the opposition promise to appeal to the President of Latvia.
“We will organize the collection of signatures in order to be a constitutional majority – at least one-third of the Members signing under a letter to the President to suspend the announcement of this law for two months, and for the Central Election Commission to organize the collection of signatures on the conduct of a referendum,” said Edgars Tavars, Chairman of the Greens and Farmers Union Board.
Similarly, the Harmony party does not support such changes and promises to act if the majority of the Saeima supports the requirement for compulsory vaccination.
“If the voting machine goes over everything, our reasonable proposals, the final step will be that we ask the public to talk about this bill, and yes there may be a referendum,” said Andrejs Klementjevs, representative of Harmony.
A similar opinion was also expressed by Māris Možvillo, head of the Saeima faction of the KPV LV: “We are categorically opposed to any forced vaccination of any kind. This must be a voluntary principle. We will try to stop compulsory vaccination by all parliamentary methods.”
Coalition in different minds
For the time being, compulsory vaccination is also an issue for one of the coalition parties, the National Alliance.
For this faction, the draft law raises many questions that have yet to be discussed. “We'll have another discussion in the faction. I hope that by then it will be possible to get answers from the ministries, as they see the “B” scenario for those professions where there can be an objective shortage of employees if they have not vaccinated,” said the parliamentarian Jānis Dombrava (National Alliance).
In the meantime, other coalition partners say they are supportive, indicating that discussions will continue in parliamentary commissions.
“As the party of the Government Coalition and Health Minister, we will review the law, support and engage in discussions,” said Inese Voika (“Development/For!”).
“As the draft law enters the Saeima, our faction will support its transfer to commissions. And then the commissions have to work carefully with this bill,“ said Ainārs Latkovskis, head of the Saeima faction of New Unity.
Krišjānis Feldmans, deputy representing the New Conservative Party (JKP), allows the possibility of encouraging a debate on compulsory vaccination of Members.
“If needed, I would be prepared to even talk about compulsory vaccination by MPs. There will certainly be people who will object to me and say that the Member will not be prevented from going to work. But I think MPs should show an example for all,” Feldmans said.
The debate on this bill will be heated and the parliament is planning to start discussing it on August 4.