Bordāns wants to lift more legal immunities from Saeima MPs

Potential Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns (New Conservative Party) promises to lift the norm requiring a parliamentary vote to search an MP's place of residence along with other changes in legal immunities hitherto enjoyed by Latvia's parliamentarians, he told the press January 7.

Following a meeting with PM nominee Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity), Bordāns promised to implement justice reforms important to the general public. For example, he wants to make officials responsible for swift operations in the criminal justice system, so that there'd be someone to shoulder the responsibility if criminal proceedings are unduly slow.

He also said that legal immunity is only permissible in exceptional cases, because everyone should be equal before the law.

"Many things have been left hanging as supposedly unimportant, but in truth they have damaged the entire niche and the reputation of justice," he said. 

Bordāns also used the occasion to say he's confident that it will be possible to set up a Kariņš-led government within two weeks' time.

In 2016 the parliament lifted administrative immunity for MPs, meaning no approval from the Saeima is needed to punish MPs for petty offenses. 

Currently Latvian MPs enjoy legal immunity for criminal offences with prosecution subject to vote by the Saeima; MPs' properties can't be searched without parliamentary approval.

In a notorious case back in 2011, the parliament blocked Latvia's anti-graft watchdog from searching the home of Ainārs Šlesers, a former MP and minister seen as an oligarch and with a long history of tying business interests to politics. 

The case led to the dismissal of the 10th Saeima by former president Valdis Zatlers, the only time this presidential power has been exercised in Latvian politics. 

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