Latvians vote to dissolve parliament

In an historic referendum Saturday Latvians voted overwhelmingly to dissolve the country’s parliament.

With nearly all the ballots now counted, more than 94% of participants voted to dissolve the legislature. The Central Election Commission reports that a total of 689,746 people took part in the vote.

The results mean that snap elections will be held later this year and a new government will be formed. The new general election is likely to take place on September 17.

“Provisional results about the number of participants suggest that the number of people taking part was comparable to the number of people who voted in the last Saeima election. That is a fairly positive signal to show that people care about the country’s political future and are prepared to assess the work of politicians in a referendum,” said President Andris Berzins.

The office of President Berzins will dictate the agenda for the Saeima until the new elections are held.

The vote was called by former president Valdis Zatlers in response to a controversial decision in parliament to block a corruption investigation into one of the country’s so-called “oligarchs”, Ainars Slesers. It is the first time in modern Latvian history that a president has used the power.

Zatlers has now officially formed his own party, the Reform Party, which will take part in the upcoming elections.

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