RIGA, November 1 (Itar-Tass) — The decision of Latvia’s Central Elections Commission (CEC) to stop the official collection of signatures in support of the amendments to the law On Citizenship that envisage automatic granting of citizenship to non-citizens will be contested in court, Andrei Tolmachev, the coordinator of the human rights movement “For Equal Rights”, told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
“First, today’s decision is political. Second, this decision is unlawful, so we will turn to court. This is the only way to prove that we are right. By the most pessimistic forecast, court proceedings may drag out for three years. We must pass through three instances – the district court, the regional court and the Supreme Court,” he said.
Immediately after the CEC meeting, human rights supporters addressed a statement to Latvia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office to describe the CEC decision as a crime. They hold that Latvian laws give no right either to the CEC or to any other body of authority to disrupt the collection of signatures after the success of its first stage. “The government must be held responsible. Time will pass and they will face the criminal court. We know now the names of six state criminals who must be brought to court. Their decision will have disastrous consequences for the whole country,” human rights activist, jurist Illarion Girs told reporters.
Tatyana Zhdanok, member of the European Parliament from Latvia, said the CEC decision would split Latvian society still more. “This is a tragic decision. It wipes out the remnants of democratic processes in Latvia and will have serious consequences for Latvian society and the state as a whole. While there exists a rift between the two communities in the structure of the state, one more rift, between the elite and the people, emerged today. The main condition for the democratic state in which the people have power was abolished today. The opinion of 13,000 citizens was ignored by six individuals,” Zhdanok told Itar-Tass.