The Procedure for Amending the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia and the Substance of Restrictions Established by It [PDF]

Dr. iur. Ringolds Balodis
Faculty of Law, University of Latvia
Professor at the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law

The article is dedicated to the mechanism for protecting the Satversme [Constitution] of the Republic of Latvia (hereafter – the Satversme) – procedure for amending it and elements thereof – restrictions (quotas of participation, approval, readings, etc.), examining the amendments to the general and basic articles, as well as the theory of core. The parliament and the people may amend the Satversme in a referendum, therefore the article also turns briefly to the institution of the people’s vote or plebiscite or referendum (Latin – referendum). The article aims to elucidate the effectiveness of the procedure for amending the Satversme and provide answers to the following questions: (1) Whether the procedure for amending the Satversme ensures protection of the national constitutional order on sufficient level and does not permit introduction into the Satversme of ill-considered or antidemocratic proposals; (2) Whether the legislator, aiming to ensure constitutional stability, has not set the exaggeratedly high quorum of voters’ participation in the referendum for all articles of the Satversme and whether the mechanism of referendum in Latvia has not become incapable of functioning? In the framework of the article, the author also will try to reach concrete proposals that would improve the procedure for amending the Satversme, would increase citizens’ involvement in the matters of public administration, which, in turn, would reinforce the people’s trust in their State. In considering the proposals, the author will focus also on the issue of national security because amendments to the Satversme and referendums, clearly, may be used as factors for destabilising the State. 

Keywords: Satversme [Constitution], restrictions to amending constitutions, amendments to Satversme, procedure for amending Satversme, basic articles of Satversme, core of Satversme, referendum, participation and approval quorums in a referendum.

pp. 21–48

Juridiskā zinātne / Law, No. 14, 2021

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Journal of the University of Latvia “Law”
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