Referendum for Amendments to the Constitution of Latvia (2012)

Results

On Saturday, 18 February 2012 the referendum on the Draft Law "Amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia" was held in Latvia. The Draft law provided for the amendments of Article 4, 18, 21, 101 and 104 of the Constitution by adding the condition about Russian as the second official language, prescribing two working languages – Latvian and Russian for self-government institutions, as well as establishing the rights for everyone to receive information in Latvian and Russian.

The ballot papers contained the question "Do you support the adoption of the Draft Law "Amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia" that provides for the Russian language the status of the second official language"". There were two possible answers – "For" and "Against".

On the Referendum Day polling stations were open from 7.00 a.m. till 10.00 p.m. Citizens of Latvia who have the right to vote and are 18 years of age are eligible to participate in the National Referendum.

Voters who were not able to attend polling stations for health reasons could apply for voting at their place of residence. These voters had to submit their applications for voting at the place of residence from 8 till 18 January 2012.

The National Referendum took place abroad too, where voters could vote in any of 85 polling stations or by post. Voting for imprisoned persons was organized as well.

The referendum results summarized by the Central Election Commission show that 273,347 voters cast their votes for adopting of the amendments to the Constitution, while 821,722 voters were against the amendments to the Constitution. 3,524 or 0.32% ballots were recognized as invalid since voters matched the both answers "For" and "Against" or no one of these answers was matched on these ballot papers. There were 1,098,921 citizens registered in voters’ lists of polling stations as voters participated in voting.

Article 79 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia stipulates that amendments to the Constitution submitted to a referendum, shall be adopted, if at least one-half of those who have the right to vote have declared themselves in their favour. According to information from the Population Register of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs there were 1,545,004 citizens of Latvia having the right to vote on 18 February 2012.

Therefore the results of the referendum show that the amendments to the Constitutions were not supported since the number of votes "For" received in the referendum was less then 772,502 or one-half of voters who have the right to vote.

The National Referendum was to be held since the Saeima has rejected the Draft law “Amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia” supported by more than one-tenth of the voters during the Collection of signatures.