Saeima moves forward president's security law changes

The Latvian parliament on Thursday passed in the first reading President Raimonds Vejonis' legislative initiatives aimed at beefing up national security, reported BNS Thursday.

Vejonis' amendments affect the National Security Law, National Armed Forces Law, and Cabinet of Ministers' Rules of Procedure. The amendments were passed in three separate votes, passed by a majority of MPs with no votes against.

As reported, the amendments stipulate that, should Latvia come under serious threat, the National Armed Forces can immediately launch self-defense measures - without waiting for an order from the commander in chief.

BNS also reported that the regulations concern cooperation between institutions and a ban on non-resistance in the case of a military attack or an attack against the independence, or the constitutional or territorial integrity of the state.

The amendments to the National Security Law include the definition of wartime, stating that the commander in chief may take full command of the Armed Forces if the Cabinet of Ministers is unable to perform its functions and there are urgent decisions to be taken concerning national defense.

The amendments to the National Armed Forces law are meant to achieve efficient cooperation and information exchange between the government and Armed Forces' command in wartime.

According to the amendments to the Cabinet of Ministers' Rules of Procedure, assembling all the Cabinet ministers for a meeting may be problematic in a state of emergency, therefore the amendments propose a reduced quorum consisting of the prime minister and any three ministers.

The proposed legislative amendments seek to establish the procedures for the work of the Cabinet of Ministers, the competence of the Commander-in-Chief and cooperation between public authorities in case of war or exceptional circumstances.

The proposals have been elaborated by the Commission for Legal Environment Improvement created under the auspices of the Latvian President’s Office in cooperation with the Defense Ministry.

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