The observers have not noticed any serious violations of Latvian electoral law. Several controversies have been noticed, however, particularly including the lack of permanent voters’ registries at polling stations. According to the Latvian electoral law a citizen is entitled to vote when she / he can present her / his passport at the polling station. The passport is then stamped to prevent multiple voting. The system, ECGA experts, claim is convenient for those people who want to cast their votes being outside the place of their residence. Still the problem remains for those who, for various reasons, do not have their documents. This group of people (although relatively small – referable polls have not been conveyed) is therefore unable to participate in the electoral process.
ECGA highly estimates the information provided at polling stations about all the candidates. The Central Electoral Commission of Latvia has published a booklet presenting data about all participating politicians, including their interests / economic situation, education and earlier professional experience.
ECGA equally highly estimates the level of technical / personal preparation of the election day. The polling stations have been prepared to guarantee secret ballot and their personnel has been sufficiently trained to interpret the electoral procedures according to the existing law.
The ECGA observers’ mission however claims that it is hard to speak about complete democratic standards, as far as about 345 thousands people of Latvia are not entitled to vote because they lack Latvian citizenship (being stateless population). The political solution of this discriminatory practice is an urgent and necessary mean to ensure democratic elections in the future. This conclusion is of significant importance, as was raised too before, after ECGA monitoring mission at the Latvian referendum in July 2011.
Head of International Observers Mission
of ECGA at the Parliamentary Elections held in Latvia on 17th September 2011
Mateusz Piskorski PhD