RIGA, November 1 (Itar-Tass) — Twenty-nine percent of Latvia’s citizens express their support for the Russian language to be granted the status of the second official language in the Baltic country, according to the public opinion survey conducted by TNS Latvia pollster and LNT TV.
The action for signature collection in support of such constitutional amendments was organized by the country’s central election commission. It started on Tuesday and will last until November 30. At the same time 61 percent of those polled opposed this motion and another 10 percent abstained. The action dubbed For the Native Language targeted at granting Russian the status of the second official language began in Latvia on March 7. For this purpose the non-governmental organization Native Language began to collect notarized signatures.
Under the Latvian legislation the central election commission checked all signatures for authenticity and announced the official collection of signatures of one tenth of Latvia’s eligible voters to submit the relevant amendments to the parliament for consideration. Around 612 signature collection outlets were opened in Latvia and another 39 abroad.
They work four hours per day. If the parliament disapproves the draft law, a nationwide referendum should be conducted. No less than 770,000 Latvian citizens should cast their ballots at the referendum for Russian to become the second official language in the Baltic country. This action is a response to the collection of signatures for transition of all government-financed Russian schools to the Latvian language-based education system. The campaign earlier organized by the nationalist movement All For Latvia! – For Fatherland and Freedom failed.