The Saeima marks the 90th anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution and the convening of the 1st Saeima


On 7 November, to mark the 90th anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution and the convening of the 1st Saeima , Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, invited to the Saeima all of the former speakers of the Latvian parliament since the restoration of independence – Anatolijs Gorbunovs, Speaker of the Supreme Council and the 5th Saeima; Ilga Kreituse and Alfreds Čepānis, speakers of the 6th Saeima; Jānis Straume, Speaker of the 7th Saeima; Ingrīda Latimira (formerly Ūdre), Speaker of the 8th Saeima, as well as Indulis Emsis and Gundars Daudze, speakers of the 9th Saeima.

To immortalise this historic meeting, the former speakers of parliament gathered for a group photo.

On this important anniversary, the Saeima also organised a conference during which Latvian and foreign experts discussed the development of parliamentarism in Latvia during the past 90 years. In the conference “Parliamentarism in Latvia: Lessons from History and Future Prospects,” Gunārs Kusiņš, Head of the Legal Bureau of the Saeima, talked about the establishment of parliamentarism in Latvia, while Tālavs Jundzis, Vice President of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, reported on parliamentary traditions and the restoration of the legal system in Latvia. Valters Ščerbinskis, associate professor at the Riga Stradiņš University, discussed the representation of ethnic minorities in the Latvian parliament in the interwar period, and Ivars Ījabs, associate professor at the Department of Political Science of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Latvia, assessed the modern parliamentary system in Latvia and its potential. Edgars Pastars, legislative and legal adviser to the President of Latvia, gave an overview of the parliament’s cooperation with other state institutions.

The conference was also attended by foreign experts. Toma Birmontiene, judge of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, shared Lithuania’s experience in implementing the impeachment procedure applicable to officials who have breached the constitution. Krzystof Prokop, associate professor at the University of Białystok (Poland), talked about necessary improvements to the parliamentary system in order to avoid, for example, frequent changes of government and an unstable majority in the parliament.

As a gift to the parliament, Kārlis Leiškalns, member of the 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th Saeima, presented Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the 11th Saeima, with a painting by Kristaps Zariņš based on sketches for the painting War (Going to War) by Jēkabs Kazaks. In 1920 the Constitutional Assembly commissioned the painting portraying the battles for freedom ; however, in 1952 it was deemed as worthless and destroyed.

A hundred members of parliament were elected to the first convocation of the Saeima, which was to continue the work begun by the Constitutional Assembly, and the Saeima convened for its first sitting at 12 p.m. on 7 November 1922. On this day, the members of parliament listened to an address by Jānis Čakste, President of the Constitutional Assembly, and elected Frīdrihs Vesmanis as the first Speaker of the Saeima. During the first sitting, the members of parliament also elected five members of the Presidium and the members of the Mandate Committee, and they reviewed submitted complaints and issued a statement on the resignation of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Ninety years ago with the convening of the 1st Saeima, the Constitution of Latvia, which had been elaborated and adopted by the Constitutional Assembly, came into force.

Photos from the event are available at:

Saeima Press Service
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