On June 3, 2017 the local elections for the city councils and municipality councils took place in 9 cities and 110 municipalities of Latvia. The procedures have been set in the City Council and Municipality Council Election Law, the Law on City and Municipality Election Commissions and in the Electoral Register Law.
Eligibility for voting
Citizens of Latvia and citizens of the European Union who have reached the age of 18 are eligible to elect the council. In order to participate in local elections in Latvia, an EU citizen has to be registered in the Population Register of Latvia 90 days prior to the elections.
Voters had the rights to vote on the administrative territory of the local government where their place of residence had been registered 90 days prior to the Election Day or on the administrative territory of the local government where they owned real estate registered in the respective municipality pursuant to the law.
Candidate lists for local elections 2017 had to be submitted between April 14 and April 24, 2017. Candidate lists had to be submitted to the respective city or municipality election commission and they had to be prepared by using the software of the Central Election Commission.
A candidate to the council might be included in the candidate list of the administrative territory if by the day of the submission of the candidate lists he/she complied with at least one of the following conditions:
1) he/she had been registered at a place of residence in the administrative territory of the respective local government for at least the recent 10 months;
2) he/she had been working on the administrative territory of the local government (as an employee or as a self-employed person according to the Law On National Social Insurance) for at least the recent 4 months;
3) he/she owned real estate which was registered in the territory of the respective local government pursuant to the law.
According to the provisions of this law, a candidate was eligible to stand for the election only in one council in the Republic of Latvia.
The candidate had to be the citizen of the Republic of Latvia or an EU citizen, registered in the Electoral Register and had to be at least 18 years old on the day of election.
In local elections the Electoral Register is being created for accounting voters. For elections 2017 each voter was registered on a certain polling station according to their registered place of residence 90 days prior to the Election Day (05.03.2017.).
Before May 16 (18 days prior the election day) voters had the opportunity to change the polling station which had been registered initially. A voter could change their polling station, choosing any other polling station within the administrative territory of the local government, in which they had a declared residence 90 days prior to elections or any other polling station within the administrative territory of the local government, in which they owned real estate.
On the Election Day, polling stations were open from 7.00 a.m. till 10.00 p.m. Three (3) days prior the Election Day for a few hours it was possible to attend the polling stations and vote beforehand.
Voters who were not be able to get to the polling station because of the health reasons could apply for the voting in their residence starting from the fifth day prior the Election Day. This opportunity could be used in case the voter was located in the territory of the respective polling station on the Election Day.
When participating in local elections in Latvia, a valid person identification document - a passport or an electronic identification card (eID card) has to be presented in the polling station.
The pre-election campaign procedures are stipulated in the Pre-election Campaign law. The pre-election campaign time is the period of 120 days prior the Election Day. For the local elections for the city councils and municipality councils of 2017 the campaign period started from February 4 till the Election Day, June 3. On the Election Day and one day prior the Election Day a complete agitation ban is in force in Latvia. 30 days before the election day the pre-election campaign shall stop in television.
Photo: Arnis Cimdars