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On December 7, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia declared that a rule preventing members of the Latvian parliament, the Saeima, from participating in person during parliamentary sittings due to non-compliance with COVID-19 vaccination did not align with the country's Constitution.

The ruling stemmed from a complaint filed by a former Saeima deputy. The Court emphasized the pivotal role of every Saeima member in Latvia's parliamentary democracy and ruled that the prohibition, intended to boost vaccination rates, did not constitute a legitimate goal for restricting the rights of elected officials. Following interim measures that saw deputies participating in virtual sittings from different locations, the Saeima had transitioned to fully remote sittings during the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic.

"The Constitutional Court recognized that the norms, which stipulated vaccination against COVID-19 as a prerequisite for a Saeima member's participation in the work of the Saeima, do not comply with the first part of Article 101 of the Constitution," explained the Court in an official statement.

Despite acknowledging the importance of solidarity in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis and maintaining public trust in the Saeima's policies, the Court held that these values could not justify limiting the rights of Saeima members. The decision highlighted the unconstitutional nature of the rule, stating, "they cannot be recognized as a legitimate goal that should limit the right of a member of the Saeima to participate in the work of the Saeima."

Full text of the decision available at satv.tiesa.gov.lv lv