On Saturday, 6 October 2018 the elections to the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia (the Saeima) was held. The Saeima election procedure is determined by the Satversme (Constitution), the Saeima Election Law, as well as by other regulations. The elections are organized by the electoral commissions of three levels, namely the Central Election Commission, 119 City and Municipality Election Commissions and more than a thousand Polling Station Commissions in Latvia and abroad.
All citizens of Latvia who on the Election Day had attained 18 years of age are entitled to vote.
At the Saeima elections voters have the right to vote in any polling station in Latvia or abroad irrespective of their place of residence or registered address. Voters are registered at polling stations by making a special mark in their passports.
Voters who have only electronic identity cards (eID), but did not have valid passports, from the 25th of September to the 6th of October 2018 have to receive a personalized voter card.
A voter can receive the voter card in that territorial section of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs where his/her electronic identity card (eID) was issued. The voter card can also be received in another territorial section of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs if a respective application in writing is submitted to the Office until 25 September 2018.
Ways of Voting
On the election day polling stations were open for voting between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm.
Voters who were not be able to attend a polling station on the election day, had a possibility to submit ballots for safe-keeping three days prior elections: on Wednesday the 3rd of October from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm; on Thursday the 4th of October from 9:00 am to 12 noon; on Friday the 5th of October from 10:00 am to 4 pm. The polling stations where ballots could be submitted for safe-keeping was set up in municipalities with at least 7,500 eligible voters. In municipalities with more than 20,000 eligible voters, polling stations where ballots may be submitted for safe-keeping were set up to ensure that there was one such polling station per 20,000 voters. Voters unable to come to the polling station for health reasons, caregivers of these voters and caregivers of ill persons could apply for off-site voting. Requests for off-site voting had to be submitted to the polling station nearest to the place where the voter is located between the 1st and 6th of October.
Overseas voters could participate in the Saeima elections by voting on the Election Day at one of the polling stations established abroad or by mail. Voters were be able to apply to vote by mail between the 5th of May and the 14th of September.
Voting was organized for soldiers and national guardsmen participating in international missions, as well as for voters in penitentiaries.
Polling stations could be also established on ships sailing under the flag of Latvia and registered in the Republic of Latvia. In order to exercise such rights, not less than 60 days before the elections the ship owner needed to submit a proposal to the Central Election Commission regarding establishing of polling station and polling station commission. No porposal was received.
Submission of lists of candidates
Submission of lists of candidates for the 13th Saeima elections took place between the 18th of July and the7th of August 2018. The lists of candidates had to be submitted to the Central Election Commission. Legally registered political parties and alliances of political parties are entitled to submit the list of candidates.
A political party submitting its list of candidates to the Saeima elections has to be founded not less than a year before the Saeima elections and it has to consist of not less than 500 members.
If the list of candidates is submitted by an alliance of political parties, each of the parties within the alliance has to be also founded not less than a year before the Saeima elections and the alliance has to consist of not less than 500 members.
Lists of candidates must be prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Saeima Election Law. Submitters of the lists of candidates have to make a security deposit of EUR 1,400 in the bank account of the Central Election Commission
Any citizen of Latvia who has reached the age of 21 before the Election Day may be elected to the Saeima unless one or more of the restrictions specified in the Saeima Election Law apply.
The lists of candidates and the attached documents must be prepared electronically in the system for submission of lists of candidates of the Central Election Commission. The lists of candidates and the attached documents must be submitted in paper too.
The period of pre-election campaign lasts from the 120th day before the elections until the election day.
From the 30th day before the election day the placement of materials of pre-election campaign on television is prohibited.
On the election day, and the day before the election day, the placement of materials of pre-election campaign on radio, public use outdoor areas and indoor premises, publications, on the Internet and authorities and capital companies, in which more than 50 per cent of capital shares (stocks) belong to the State or a municipality, is prohibited. On the Internet (except for the website of the political parties and alliances of political parties) on the Election Day and the day before the Election Day paid pre-election campaign also is prohibited.
On election day when polling stations are open pre-election campaign is prohibited inside the polling station or within 50 meters from the entrance to the building in which the polling station is located.
Monitoring of pre-election campaign is carried out (depending on the type of campaign) by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, the National Electronic Mass Media Council, the State Police and the Municipal Police. The chairperson of the polling station commission ensures that there is no campaigning inside the polling station or within 50 meters from the entrance to it.
Conditions for the pre-election campaign are set out in the Pre-election Campaign Law.