On Thursday, 28 October, the last plenary sitting of the 9th Saeima was held.
“I hope that the next convocation will continue the dialogue with society begun by the 9th Saeima by actively cooperating with non-governmental organisations and striving to make the parliament and its work more open and understandable to inhabitants,” said Mr. Gundars Daudze, Speaker of the Saeima.
Mr. Daudze also emphasised that during his term as the Speaker, he tried to shift the centre of power from the executive to the legislative branch. He believes that successful continuation of this work is one of the main tasks of the 10th Saeima because Latvia is a parliamentary republic.
Looking back at the Saeima’s accomplishments, Mr. Daudze emphasised that it was during the 9th Saeima when the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Spring Session in Riga was successfully organised. “We still receive letters of appreciation from our international partners concerning the high level of organisation of this event”, said the Speaker.
During its four-year term, the 9th Saeima held 217 sittings; it adopted 1271 laws in the final reading and rejected 225 draft laws.
The longest sitting of the 9th Saeima lasted for 28 hours and 16 minutes. This particular sitting of 11 December 2008 initially lasted for 19 hours and 36 minutes – until 4:36 AM of the next day. Then a break was announced until 18 December 2008, and after one week this sitting continued for another 8 hours and 40 minutes. The agenda of this sitting included amendments related to the package of the 2008 state budget law and accompanying draft laws – a total of 175 issues.
During parliamentary sittings, the following MPs took the floor most frequently: Mr. Vladimirs Buzajevs (For Human Rights in a United Latvia) - 429 times; Mr. Kārlis Šadurskis (Civic Union) - 264 times; Mr. Juris Dobelis (For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK) - 246 times; Ms. Ilma Čepāne (Civic Union) – 191 times.
During the convocation of the 9th Saeima, Latvia celebrated holidays important for its statehood. On 4 May 2010, the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of the Declaration on the Renewal of Independence of the Republic of Latvia and the 90th anniversary of the establishing of the Constitutional Assembly were celebrated. The central event of all celebratory activities was the Saeima solemn meeting at the Latvian National Opera, where speeches were delivered by Mr. Gundars Daudze, Speaker of the Saeima, and Mr. Anatolijs Gorbunovs, former Chairman of the Supreme Council.
On 18 November 2008, when the 90th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Latvia was celebrated, MPs attended the Saeima solemn meeting at the Latvian National Theatre.
During the past four years, the Latvian parliament was visited by many foreign dignitaries, such as the speakers of the parliaments of Albania, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Japan, Sri Lanka and other countries. Mr. Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, delivered a speech at the Saeima. Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, and Queen Sophia of Spain, Ms. Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of Lithuania, Mr. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, Mr. Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan, and others visited our parliament.
In order to improve the parliament’s dialogue with society, as well as to facilitate involvement of individuals in the work of the Saeima, the Saeima Visitor and Information Centre was created on 29 January 2009. The Centre provides information about the work of the Saeima, how to meet members of parliament and Saeima’s staff members, how to hand in a submission, as well as how to access informative materials and multimedia presentations about the Saeima, its history and activities. On average, each month almost 400 inhabitants take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Centre.
During the 9th Saeima, several new traditions were established. Since 2007, as part of the framework of the collective task called “A Gift to Latvia!”, members and staff of the Saeima plant trees every spring. For three consecutive years, the Saeima has also organised Open Door Day so that every interested person can visit the rooms and halls of the Saeima building, as well as meet MPs and ask them questions about their daily activities. The Open Door Day held on 17 September 2010 was attended by a record-high number of persons – 2,000.
Great public interest about visiting the Saeima could also be observed during Museum Night, an annual event in which the parliament participated for the first time. In 2010, as part of Shadowing Day, the Saeima was visited by almost 200 pupils of different ages and from different parts of Latvia in order to become one-day “shadows” of Saeima members and Saeima staff. Last year, the Saeima received an award for being one of the three best places for shadowing in 2009.
Photos from the sitting, as well as the group photos are available at:
Video featuring the sitting and the collective photo session is available at: https://www.youtube.com/SaeimaSAB#p/a/u/0/F5CkuyDKJ2s
When using these materials, it is mandatory to give credit to the Saeima.
Press Service of the Parliament of Latvia