Latvia’s president wants more power

The Hurriyet Daily News reports that Latvian President Valdis Zatlers has called for a constitutional amendment permitting him to dissolve Parliament without the public’s consent at referendum. According to the article, he also has called for direct presidential elections.

Further, he has asked for the power to unilaterally dismiss the chief budget and central bank officers. Zalter’s stated reason for this is to ‘depoliticize’ these appointments.

There is no mention of any proposed change to presidential survivability. Will the dissolution of Parliament also trigger a presidential election, for example?

As is no surprise to F&V readers, the net effect of the above would be the diminution of arguably wise constraints on executive power.

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Image of Latvian Saiemaa added by MSS

One thought on “Latvia’s president wants more power

  1. Thanks for picking this one up, Jack. I was just in Latvia, but so briefly that I did have a chance to become aware of any political-reform discussions.

    If the presidency were to be directly elected, it would be a change of system: from parliamentary to semi-presidential. In that sense, actually giving the presidency more formal powers to exercise his/her mandate makes for a coherent reform. I say that without prejudice to whether or not it is a “good idea.”

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