Saeima to consider removing MPs' administrative immunity

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Saeima on Thursday decided to hand over the amendments to the Constitution to remove MPs parliamentary immunity from administrative offences for review in committees of the Saeima.

The motion, put forth by Regional Alliance was handed to the committees of Saeima with 67 MPs voting for, 19 against and one abstaining.

As of now the Constitution of Latvia stipulates that MPs have both criminal and administrative immunity. MPs Nellija Kleinberga, Dainis Liepiņš, Jānis Ruks, Mārtiņš Šics and Artuss Kaimiņš put forth the motion to remove the latter.

Inga Bite from the Regional Alliance said that immunity, especially administrative immunity puts MPs above the other members of the society and make them harder to punish.

"This punishment usually requires a lengthy procedure that puts an administrative pressure, especially on state institutions. Keeping this in mind, in reality and in practice there are cases when an official, upon hearing that the offender is an MP, says: Okay, we won't punish you so as to keep away from having to do all this paper work," said Bite.

The only argument for retaining immunity is that now the offence becomes public and the public knows that an offence has taken place, said Bite.

However, she said that the goals can be reached in other ways, for example, by putting an obligation on the official that forms the administrative offence protocol to inform the Saeima Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee that could decide whether an ethical violation has taken place.

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