President Valdis Zatler’s Speech Initiating Dissolution of the Saeima

In his address on May 28, 2011, broadcast live on public television and radio, President Zatlers announced his decision to initiate the dissolution of the Saeima, based on Article 48 of the Latvian Constitution. By The Latvian Institute

„I have made a decision to take radical action. [..] With this decision I want to give an opportunity to all people to put an end to the arbitrariness of a small circle of people. To put an end to the situation where all our hard-earned wealth has ended up in the accounts of some offshore firms, to put an end to the situation where some regions in our country enjoy special rights. I want to give an opportunity to make changes for better. I mean, it is necessary to stop thinking one thing, saying another and doing yet another thing. We must put an end to this attitude to our people, our nation, our state,” Zatlers said.

„The main task [of the current parliament] was to get rid of the vices that had caused the huge gap of non-confidence between people and the previous parliament. To weed out this root of evil that separates the power from the society. Last Thursday’s vote in the parliament, unfortunately, was like an alarm signaling about a serious conflict between the legislative power and the judiciary. Between two of the three powers on which our state is based. The parliament demonstrated disrespect and a lack of trust in the competence of the judiciary. Regrettably, this was not the first such case. The previous parliament failed to approve the appointment of a judge whose professionalism had been appreciated by the judiciary. Lawmakers also did not reappoint the prosecutor general, nominated by the top official of the judiciary — the chairman of the Supreme Court. This parliament, too, has signaled that the old ways have been taken over,” Zatlers said.

„Have there been any successes? Our country has had a success. In the past three years we miraculously coped with the economic crisis. We are a role model — a role model of action, of results. But let’s face it — this crisis was overcome thanks to the Latvian people. This begs for a question — what was the point of it? Was it really to raise oligarchs’ profits, to let them embezzle public funds, to let the rule of law become a meaningless slogan? All of us — both you and I as president — have been looking at this too passively and doing nothing. The situation got worse and worse. While the confidence rating of the previous parliament was 6 percent, this parliament enjoys the confidence of 10 percent of the people. What we are talking about now is not just stealing of the state, there is a feeling of an approaching privatization of our democracy,” Zatlers said.