Over 6,000 Latvian citizens sign petition to make Russian state language

More than 6,000 Latvian nationals have signed a petition to grant Russian the status of a second state language by early April, Eduard Svatkov, a spokesman for the Native Language organization, said on Tuesday.

The share of Russian-speaking residents in Latvia’s 2.3 million population is 44%. Latvian has the status of the state language in the republic, whereas Russian is considered a foreign language.

Svatkov said the organization intends to gather 10,000 signatures by May 9. If the movement’s activists succeed in collecting the necessary number within a year, they will be entitled to have the Central Election Commission launch an extended signature collection campaign.

Should they manage to collect 97,000 signatures from adult citizens, which constitutes about 10% of voters who cast their ballots at the last parliamentary election in October 2010, the issue will be addressed by Latvia’s parliament. If deputies do not approve the move, it will be put to a nationwide vote.

RIGA, April 5 (RIA Novosti) 

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