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Central Election Commission turns down bill on Latvian citizenship for all non-citizens

Arnis Cimdars.
 RIGA, Nov 1 - The Central Election Commission decided today that the second round of signature collection for staging a referendum on automatic citizenship for all non-citizens of Latvia will not be organized, because the draft bill amending the Citizenship Law is not fully elaborated.
The other reasons why the referendum will not be held - the bill is not in line with Article 2 of the Constitution and the May 4 Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia. Also, the bill will increase the number of Latvia's citizens significantly and pose threat to the principle of continuity of the State of Latvia.
Six commission members voted against the bill, while two members - Aleksandrs Malcevs representing Harmony Center and Ieva Gruzina representing the Reform Party - voted for continuing the referendum initiation procedure.
The commission's head Arnis Cimdars abstained.
The commission's decision may be appealed to the Administrative Court within ten days.
As reported, the bill submitted by the For Equal Rights movement stipulates that all non-citizens of Latvia who do not apply for keeping their status of a non-citizen by November 30, 2013 be automatically granted Latvian citizenship on January 1, 2014.
According to the Central Election Commission's data, 12,686 citizens have signed the petition proposing to amend the Citizenship Law.
Previously the Election Commission requested many expert opinions to determine if the bill proposing to amend the Citizenship Law could be considered fully elaborated under the Constitution's Article 78, so that a signature drive could be organized. Most institutions and experts replied the commission that they were skeptical about the "non-citizen referendum", and many concluded that the bill was not fully elaborated.
In order to reach agreement on the bill, the Central Election Commission consulted with the President's Chancery, Saeima Legal Office, Justice Ministry, Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Ombudsman's Office, University of Latvia's Law School, University of Latvia's International and European Law School, Riga Stradins University's Law School, Riga Graduate School of Latvia and international law expert Martins Paparinskis.
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