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Latvian Saeima weighs ban on campaigning in Russian language

Most of Latvian parliamentarians have supported consideration of the ban on election campaigning in Russian, EADaily’s correspondent reports.

To recall, yesterday, the Latvian Coalition National Bloc submitted a Bill to Saeima permitting election campaigns in the native language only. The National Bloc suggests a fine in the amount of 100-700 EUR for individuals and 500-5000 EUR for legal entities for violation of this requirement.

Oppositionist MP representing Harmony Party, Sergey Potapkin left a post in Facebook social media saying only representatives of Harmony Party and some independent MPs voted against the bill. The amendments drafted by the National Bloc were supported by Unity Party and ZZS (Union of Greens and Farmers - EADaily) and Latvian Association of Regions (except Juris Vilums, deputy chairman). Noteworthy that all this happened after approval ratings of the political parties were published. Judging from the ratings, only three of the current parliamentary parties will pass the five-percent threshold to the parliament. 25% of the polled are still uncertain about their choice,” Potapkim wrote.

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He recalled that the bill runs contrary to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. “If the amendments are passed, they will file a lawsuit against Latvia and the provision of the law will be cancelled. The costs of legal proceedings will be covered by taxpayers and that money will not reach either the state budget or the healthcare budget. The Russian speakers will be charged taxes, though they are deprived of their right to receive information in ‘the wrong’ language. According to the rules set by EU, 24 European languages can be used freely in Latvia, but the Russian language is not among them,” Potapkin wrote.

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