On Thursday, 29 October, the Saeima conceptually supported amendments to the Constitution in the first reading. The amendments propose that members of the Saeima may be held administratively liable without the consent of the Saeima.
The proposed amendments would entail deleting the provision of Clause 30 of the Constitution, which stipulates that administrative fines may not be levied against MPs without the consent of the Saeima.
“This is the first step towards reviewing of the existing provisions on public officials’ immunity in administrative cases. We have also launched discussions about revoking of immunity that has been granted to judges and prosecutors.
The discussions will most probably continue in a plenary sitting of the Saeima,” said Gaidis Bērziņš, Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee which initiated the proposal.
The authors of the proposal argue that the purpose of immunity is to ensure unhindered functioning of the parliament and to protect MPs from politically motivated accusations. The summary of the proposal includes a reference to the
Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO), stating that the democratic society of Latvia has no need for excessively broad privileges of administrative immunity. It hasalso been pointed out that there is a need to narrow the scope of immunity and exclude minor violations in case of which penalisation of MPs would not hinder the work of the parliament.
The current wording of the Constitution stipulates that without the consent of the Saeima, criminal prosecution may not be commenced and administrative fines may not be levied against its members.
The proposal will require amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Saeima, which, according to Chairman Bērziņš, will be drafted by the Judicial Policy Subcommittee.
Saeima Press Service