The Saeima1

Article: 5. The Saeima shall be composed of one hundred representatives of the people.

Article: 6. The Saeima shall be elected in general, equal and direct elections, and by secret ballot based on proportional representation.

Article: 7. In the division of Latvia into separate electoral districts, provision for the number of members of the Saeima to be elected from each district shall be proportional to the number of electors in each district.

Article: 8. All citizens of Latvia who enjoy full rights of citizenship and, who on election day have attained eighteen years of age shall be entitled to vote.

Article: 9. Any citizen of Latvia, who enjoys full rights of citizenship and, who is more than twenty-one years of age on the first day of elections may be elected to the Saeima.

Article: 10. The Saeima shall be elected for a term of four years.

Article: 11. Elections for the Saeima shall be held on the first Saturday in October.

Article: 12. The newly elected Saeima shall hold its first sitting on the first Tuesday in November, when the mandate of the previous Saeima shall expire.

Article: 13. Should elections for the Saeima, by reason of the dissolution of the previous Saeima, be held at another time of the year, the Saeima so elected shall convene not later than one month after its election, and its mandate shall expire upon the convening of the new Saeima on the first Tuesday in November following the elapse of three years after such election.

Article: 14. The electors may not recall any individual member of the Saeima.

Article: 15. The Saeima shall hold its sittings in Rīga, and only in extraordinary circumstances may it convene elsewhere.

Article: 16. The Saeima shall elect a Presidium that shall be composed of a Chairperson, two Deputies and Secretaries. The Presidium shall function continuously during the mandate of the Saeima.

Article: 17. The first sitting of the newly elected Saeima shall be opened by the Chairperson of the preceding Saeima or by another member of the Presidium at the direction of the Presidium.

Article: 18. The Saeima itself shall review the qualifications of its members.

A person elected to the Saeima shall acquire the mandate of a Member of the Saeima if such person gives the following solemn promise:

“I, upon assuming the duties of a Member of the Saeima, before the people of Latvia, do swear (solemnly promise) to be loyal to Latvia, to strengthen its sovereignty and the Latvian language as the only official language, to defend Latvia as an independent and democratic State, and to fulfil my duties honestly and conscientiously. I undertake to observe the Constitution and laws of Latvia."

Article: 19. The Presidium shall convene sessions of the Saeima and schedule regular and extraordinary sittings.

Article: 20. The Presidium shall convene sittings of the Saeima if requested by the President, the Prime Minister, or not less than one third of the members of the Saeima.

Article: 21. The Saeima shall establish rules of order to provide for its internal operations and order. The working language of the Saeima is the Latvian language.

Article: 22. Sittings of the Saeima shall be public. The Saeima may decide by a majority vote of not less than two-thirds of the members present to sit in closed session, if so requested by ten members of the Saeima, or by the President, the Prime Minister, or a Minister.

Article: 23. Sittings of the Saeima may take place if at least half of the members of the Saeima participate therein.

Article: 24. The Saeima shall make decisions by an absolute majority of votes of the members present at the sitting, except in cases specifically set out in the Constitution.

Article: 25. The Saeima shall establish committees and determine the number of members and their duties. Committees have the right to require of individual Ministers or local government authorities information and explanations necessary for the work of the committees, and the right to invite to their sittings responsible representatives from the relevant ministries or local government authorities to furnish explanations. Committees may also carry on their work between sessions of the Saeima.

Article: 26. The Saeima shall appoint parliamentary investigatory committees for specified matters if not less than one-third of its members request it.

Article: 27. The Saeima shall have the right to submit to the Prime Minister or to an individual Minister requests and questions which either they, or a responsible government official duly authorised by them, must answer. The Prime Minister or any Minister shall furnish the relevant documents and enactments requested by the Saeima or by any of its committees.

Article: 28. Members of the Saeima may not be called to account by any judicial, administrative or disciplinary process in connection with their voting or their views as expressed during the execution of their duties. Court proceedings may be brought against members of the Saeima if they, albeit in the course of performing parliamentary duties, disseminate:

1) defamatory statements which they know to be false, or

2) defamatory statements about private or family life.

Article: 29. Members of the Saeima shall not be arrested, nor shall their premises be searched, nor shall their personal liberty be restricted in any way without the consent of the Saeima. Members of the Saeima may be arrested if apprehended in the act of committing a crime. The Presidium shall be notified within twenty-four hours of the arrest of any member of the Saeima; the Presidium shall raise the matter at the next sitting of the Saeima for decision as to whether the member shall continue to be held in detention or be released. When the Saeima is not in session, pending the opening of a session, the Presidium shall decide whether the member of the Saeima shall remain in detention.

Article: 30. Without the consent of the Saeima, criminal prosecution may not be commenced and administrative fines may not be levied against its members.

Article: 31. Members of the Saeima have the right to refuse to give evidence:

1) concerning persons who have entrusted to them, as representatives of the people, certain facts or information;

2) concerning persons to whom they, as representatives of the people, have entrusted certain facts or information; or

3) concerning such facts or information itself.

Article: 32. Members of the Saeima may not, either personally or in the name of another person, receive government contracts or concessions. The provisions of this Article shall apply to Ministers even if they are not members of the Saeima.

Article: 33. The remuneration of members of the Saeima shall be from state funds.

Article: 34. No person may be called to account for reporting the sittings of the Saeima or its committees if such reports correspond to fact. Information about closed sessions of either the Saeima or its committees may only be disclosed with the permission of the Presidium of the Saeima or the committee.

[27 January 1994; 4 December 1997; 15 October 1998; 30 April 2002]