Small town mayor doesn't know enough Latvian, says language watchdog

Zilupe mayor Oļegs Agafanovs' Latvian proficiency is insufficient for holding public office, the State Language Center (VVC) told LETA, reported LSM Wednesday.

After receiving complaints over the Agafanovs' language proficiency, VVC on August 18 established that he doesn't know Latvian well enough to hold public office.

VVC was able to test Agafanovs' Latvian proficiency only after several tries as he had either been or vacation or on sick leave. A misdemeanor (administrative proceedings) case has been started on Agafanovs, with a decision expected within a month.

He's not the only politician caught on the radar of VVC. Several councilmen of towns in Latgale have been found to have insufficient knowledge of Latvian and have subsequently been granted money for Latvian tuition.

Previously VVC went to court against Vladislavs Bojarjūns, a councilman in Daugavpils, was found to have not improved his Latvian even after his tuition costs were paid for.

VVC also turned against Ivans Baranovs, a councilman at the Balvi municipality, who could lose his mandate after two court instances have ruled in favor of the language watchdog. His case will be reviewed by the Supreme Court.

While work is ongoing at the Saeima on amendments that would see municipal employees, whom the Language Center has asked to improve their Latvian, pay for their own tuition.

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