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Berzins will promulgate amendments to referendum initiation procedure

Andris Berzins. Photo: Lita Krone/LETA.
 RIGA, Nov 20 - Despite the opposition's protests, President Andris Berzins has decided to promulgate the recently approved amendments to the Law on National Referendums, Legislative Initiatives and European Citizens' Initiative, which stipulate that 154,000 signatures must be collected for initiating a referendum, starting from 2015.
The Presidential Chancery's representative Martins Dregeris informed LETA that Berzins will promulgate the amendments and add a document explaining the reasons behind his decision and potential further actions in this regard.
The amendments will most likely be promulgated next week.
As reported, MPs Uldis Augulis and Janis Urbanovics, on behalf of the Saeima group of the Union of Greens and Farmers and Harmony Center's Saeima group, previously turned to Berzins, asking to return the amendments to Saeima for a repeated review.
The two opposition parties pointed out that the bill endorsed by Saeima will infringe on citizens' right to influence decisions of national importance, and the bill's provisions will make the referendum initiation procedure much more complex.
LETA also reported, on November 8, Saeima approved a 154,000 signature threshold for initiation of a referendum, starting from 2015.
The law stipulates that until 2015, initiators of a referendum on dissolving Saeima will have to collect 10,000 signatures during the first stage of referendum initiation procedure. The remaining 144,000 signatures will be collected by the Central Election Commission.
It also envisages that until 2015, initiators of other referendums will have to collect 30,000 signatures in the first stage of referendum initiation procedure. As of 2015, they will have to themselves collect 154,000 signatures.
Campaigning will be limited before and during a referendum.

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