Latvian parliament approves a new judge for the Constitutional Court

On Thursday, 9 December, the Saeima approved Latvian President Egils Levits’ advisor Irēna Kucina for the post of judge of the Constitutional Court.
In the past Kucina served at deputy state secretary to the Ministry of Justice and as Latvia’s representative in the Court of Justice of the European Union. In the ministry she worked as the director of the EU court department and was in charge of the Human Rights Department and the Department of Private International Law.
In 2016 Kucina was elected as associated professor to the University of Latvia Faculty of Law. The decision regarding Kucina’s approval was planned at the end of September. However, due to discord among parties this topic was excluded from the Saeima’s agenda.
LTV reported at the time that Levits spoke with politicians from Attīstībai/Par! And asked the resolve the faction’s support in favour of Kucina as judge of the Constitutional Court. Levits contacted AP members Inese Voika and Vita Anda Tērauda. Multiple sources told LTV that Levits asked deputies to support Kucina. If they didn’t the president, according to sources, threatened to criticize AP ministers and the government, which would have risked collapsing the government.
Levits claims there was a misunderstanding. He said he did not use threats or pressure of any kind, rather explained that Kucina’s selection was correct and in line with the law. As for criticizing the government, he said it may have been the part that was misunderstood.
The head of Saeima’s Legal Affairs Committee Juris Jurašs said the decision-making in this topic was put on pause so that all parties would have enough time to discuss things with Kucina. The process was delayed further because of budget talks.
Kucina’s candidacy was previously approved by the government and the Justice Council.
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