Latvian Saeima rejects proposal to ban notorious Ventspils politician from entering the parliament’s building

On Thursday, 23 September, Latvia’s parliament rejected the proposal submitted by the New Conservative Party one and a half years ago to ban ex-Saeima deputies subjected to sanctions from entering the parliament’s building.
Latvia has only one ex-Saeima deputies who is under international sanctions – Aivars Lembergs.
Members of the New Conservative Party, National Alliance and a number of non-faction deputies voted in favour of amendments to the Law on the Legal Status and Pensions of Members of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia.
Members of the Union of Greens and Farmers, Harmony, New Unity, some members of For a Humane Latvia and non-faction deputies, as well as one deputy each from political parties Repulika and Latvia Number One voted against.
One NA deputy and one New Unity deputy abstained in the vote.
Of the deputies who had registered for the meeting but did not participate in the vote were members of Attīstībai/Par!, New Unity and Republika members, as well as some non-faction deputies and one deputy from the National Alliance.
Also at this meeting deputies rejected amendments to the Saeima Internal Order.
Saeima deputy Artuss Kaimiņš was especially unpleasantly surprised over the decision of his colleagues to reject amendments.
He stressed that the goal of amendments was making sure Lembergs «is not allowed anywhere near the Saeima».
Lembergs is as a negative symbol as Voldemort, said the politician. He allowed that the «Šlesers case» or the notorious politician and businessman’s drive to return to politics is necessary to remind deputies via a baseball-bat-to-the-head method of the risks involved.
Deputy Juris Jurašs (JKP) said amendments are necessary because society needs certainty that the parliament works in their best interest. He also said it is necessary to demonstrate the passing of laws in the Saeima is done fairly and in a transparent way.
A member of Lembergs’ political party, Saeima deputy Gundars Daudze (ZZS/For Latvia and Ventspils) said bot legislative drafts viewed at the Saeima on 23 September were written for a single person – Lembergs. Daudze stressed that after three years of this Saeima nothing surprises him any more because initiators of amendments from JKP promote uncompromised rule of law. However, he said in practice this approach has become lawless.
Daudze stressed the right to visit the Saeima is a gift to members of the Supreme Council who voted for Latvia’s declaration of independence. The politician stressed that members of the 4th May Declaration Club are also against the proposed amendments. He noted it is unacceptable for some third country to dictate who is and who isn’t allowed to visit the Saeima.
Daudze also stressed that sanctions imposed by US authorities have led to Ventspils sea port companies being forced to work with lower turnover and lay off many of their employees. The politician also proposed authors of amendments to seek psychiatric help.
Saeima deputy Jānis Butāns said in support of amendments that Lembergs is trying to hold on to his political presence and influence. He said his colleague Daudze is the last person to speak against this legislative draft, considering Lembergs’ generous donations to Daudze’s political party.
Butāns stressed that by approving these amendments it would have been a clear sign to Latvia’s residents that their home country is a country ruled by law and is part of the western civilization.
Deputy Valērijs Agešins said, among other things, that authors of the legislative draft say nothing or are reluctant to impose restrictions for people responsible for serious crimes.
Parliamentarian Didzis Šmits sarcastically proposed going further and banning fools from entering the Saeima since they are foolish and unpleasant in general. The politician said such people are easy to spot in votes.
Read also: Oddities continue happening in Ventspils: Aivars Lembergs elected as head of a committee
Deputy Andrejs Judins said it is widely known Lembergs is not his friend.
At the same time, the politician stresses if there is attempt to limit rights, the criterion regarding other countries deciding who is and who isn’t allowed to visit the Saeima does not work – it should be decided by the parliament.
The politician stressed that he is ashamed of these amendments.
Amendment to the Saeima internal order were submitted by members of JKP Saeima faction and non-faction deputy Artuss Kaimiņš.
Deputies noted that amendments are needed to establish restrictions for ex-Saeima deputies and members of the Supreme Council who are under international or domestic sanctions. This way it is planned to reduce their influence over the legislative power.