"Pauls Kalniņš was a politician with a remarkable path of political growth, great international contacts, enormous perseverance, and, above all, an unwavering commitment to the statehood and democracy of Latvia," said Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker of the Saeima, on Thursday, 3 March, at the opening of the exhibition "No Latvia Without Democracy", hosted at the Parliament and dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the long-serving Speaker of the Saeima, Pauls Kalniņš.
"It is no coincidence that the title of our exhibition is ‘No Latvia Without Democracy’ as this was one of Pauls Kalniņš' favourite sayings," emphasised Mūrniece. "As Speaker of the Saeima, Pauls Kalniņš distinguished himself by masterful management of parliamentary work, neutrality, and tolerance towards colleagues, regardless of their political affiliation. In this respect, he continued the tradition established by Jānis Čakste, the President of the Constitutional Assembly and later the President of Latvia," said the Speaker of the Saeima.
Mūrniece urged for the memory of Kalniņš to be honoured and noted that, on the birthday of the long-serving Speaker of Parliament, the Embassy of Latvia in Sweden, on behalf of the Saeima, lays flowers at the burial place of Kalniņš' family in the Hässelby cemetery in Stockholm, Sweden.
Toms Ķikuts, historian and Deputy Director of the National History Museum of Latvia, also addressed the audience at the opening of the exhibition.
The exhibition tells the story of one of the most influential political figures of the time – statesman, physician, and publicist Pauls Kalniņš who promoted and defended the idea of democracy. He served on the People's Council and the Constitutional Assembly, was elected to the Constitutional Commission that drafted the fundamental law, as well as to all parliamentary convocations in the inter-war period. Kalniņš is the longest-serving Speaker of the Saeima, having chaired the first, second, third, and fourth Saeima for a total of nearly 10 years.
According to the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, Kalniņš was also the Acting President of the country from autumn 1944 until his death in 1945.
The exhibition is organised by the Saeima in cooperation with the National History Museum of Latvia. It brings together photographs, historical newsreels, documents, and items from the National History Museum of Latvia, the Latvian National Museum of Art/Art Museum Riga Bourse, the National Archives of Latvia, the National Library of Latvia, the Latvian State Archive of Audiovisual Documents, and the Library of the Saeima.
This year, the Latvian Parliament celebrates an important anniversary - 100 years since it was first convened. The exhibition in honour of Pauls Kalniņš forms part of the events dedicated to the anniversary.
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Saeima Press Service