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Parliament rejects Latvian president's legislative initiative for citizenship to children of non-citizens

BC, Riga, 21.09.2017.Print version
The Latvian parliament today voted down the legislative initiative proposed by Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis to stop registering children born to Latvia's non-citizens as non-citizens, informs LETA.

The proposal was rejected with 39 votes for and 38 votes against with 14 abstentions. The votes for were cast by the opposition lawmakers, the four MPs of the Unity faction now representing the newly-established the Movement For party, and two independent lawmakers - Edvards Smiltens and Romans Miloslavskis.


When the parliament is to decide on sending or not sending a bill to the committees for discussion, only two lawmakers are allowed to speak during the debate – one, who is in favor of the proposal, and one, who is against it. MP Gunars Kutris (For Latvia from the Heart) urged the lawmakers to support the Latvian president's initiative, stressing that they should think about the country's future. MP Edvins Snore (National Alliance) said the bill should be rejected because it "reeks of political corruption". He also pointed out that under the effective law a simple Yes from the non-citizen parents is enough to give their child the Latvian citizenship.


Under the proposal, babies born to Latvia's non-citizens after June 1, 2018, should no longer be given the status of non-citizens.


The Latvian president came forth with the proposal, believing that it would help develop the Latvian nation as a consolidated society, based on common values.


"Latvia is a democratic and modern European state, and it is necessary to make every effort to keep developing and strengthening the Latvian state. Latvia's education system can prepare and bring up decent, honest and responsible people who are Latvia's patriots and have a strong sense of belonging to Latvia," he said.


If adopted by the parliament, the new legislation would apply to some 50-80 newborns a year. In 2016, a total of 52 newborn children were registered as non-citizens.


Under the effective Latvian law, parents, who are Latvia's non-citizens, upon registration of their child can choose to register their child as a Latvian citizen but the Latvian citizenship is not given to non-citizens' children automatically upon their birth.


The ruling National Alliance opposes the president's initiative and has informed other ruling parties that it will exercise its veto rights.


After that, the coalition partners said they will not endorse the president's legislative initiative, as this may trigger the collapse of the current government.


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