Saeima in substance supports adding a preamble to the Constitution

(27.03.2014.)
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On Thursday, 27 March, the Saeima supported, in substance, amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia which would add an introduction, or preamble, to the text. In the first reading, the Draft Law was supported by 67 MPs, while 27 MPs voted against it.

The introductory part of the Constitution is intended to reflect Latvia’s goals and the main turning points in the historical development of its statehood, as well as the values at the heart of the state of Latvia and its people. The draft preamble of the Constitution clearly asserts the continuity of the state of Latvia and condemns the crimes committed by the Nazi and Communist occupation regimes.

The draft preamble emphasises the important role of the Latvian language in consolidating society. It also asserts the responsibility of individuals for their actions and ties with society, the state and future generations. Furthermore, the draft preamble notes Latvia’s role in a European and global context.

The draft preamble states that as a democratic, law-based, socially responsible and national state, Latvia is founded upon the dignity and freedom of its people, and it recognises and protects human rights, including the rights of minorities. The people of Latvia safeguard their sovereignty, independence, territory and democratic form of government of the state of Latvia.

The draft of the introductory part of the Constitution emphasises that our identity in the European cultural domain has been particularly influenced by the folk traditions and folk wisdom of the Latvian people, as well as by universal human and Christian values. The Latvian language is the foundation of democratic social participation and a cohesive society. The fundamental values of our society are freedom, honesty, fairness, solidarity, equality, family and work. It is everyone’s obligation to take care of one’s self and one’s relatives, as well as the common good of society, and to treat other people, society, the state, the environment, nature and future generations with a sense of responsibility.

On behalf of the submitters of the Draft Law, Ilma Čepāne, Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee, stressed that a democratic state is based on certain values and principles and that many states have explicitly expressed these principles in the written text of their constitutions. “Almost all constitutions that have been adopted after World War II contain, to some extent, a preamble of this sort. It helps people to understand the essence of their state, its fundamental values and principles. As a result, such understanding facilitates constructive and responsible civic participation in national development and thus reinforces the democratic form of governance,” said Čepāne.

The Draft Law on Amendments to the Constitution is still to be considered in the second and third reading by the committees and at the plenary sitting of the Saeima.




Saeima Press Service

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