Latvia’s referendum on parliament dissolution finishes.

24/7 Tass 191a

RIGA, July 24 (Itar-Tass) —— Latvia finished on Saturday night a referendum on the dissolution of the national parliament initiated by its former president Valdis Zatlers.

The country’s Central Elections Commission said that as of 20:00 local time /21:00 Moscow time/ 41.33 percent of voters had participated in the referendum – 616,739 people.

The voting went smoothly, without any incidents, the commission said. There were lines of those who came to vote at some of the voting stations. No major violations were registered on the day.

Latvia organised 950 election stations in the country and 78 abroad. The question of the referendum was “Are you for dissolution of the tenth seim /parliament/?” Voters were to tick either a Yes or No answer.

Under the national laws, if the majority of voters support Zatlers’ initiative, early parliamentary elections are to be held within two months after the dissolution of the current parliament. Such elections are likely to be held in September, the country’s Central Elections Commission said earlier.

By Sunday morning all ballot papers are expected to be processed.

As many as 65 observers from Latvia and 16 international observers have been accredited to monitor the voting procedures.

Official results will be announced on July 26.

Latvia’s population is 2.3 million people, of whom only 1.6 million are eligible voters. About 345,000 Russian speakers who have no Latvian passports will not take part in the voting. Since Latvia’s break-up from the former Soviet Union in 1991, Russian speakers have been stripped off most of political rights, including the right to vote in municipal and parliamentary elections, in elections to the European parliament, and to take part in national referendums.

On May 28, the former president initiated this referendum having accused lawmakers of “serving the interests of oligarchs,” and of the “selling out official posts.”

Zatlers was elected President in 2007, and his term in office expired on July 7, 2011. After former banker Andris Berzins won the presidential elections on June 2, he said he would not cancel the initiative of his predecessor.

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