1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Latvia in turmoil

May 29, 2011

Latvian President Valdis Zatlers announced in an address to the nation on Saturday that he would start the process of dissolving parliament to put an end to "political scheming and lies."

Valdis Zatlers
Zatlers is determined to fight Latvia's 'oligarchs'Image: dpa

Latvian President Valdis Zatlers has called for the dissolution of parliament after lawmakers blocked a corruption probe against a prominent politician and businessman.

During an impassioned speech on national television on Saturday, Zatlers said it was time to put a "full stop" to political manipulation and that there should be no MPs who think they are above the law.

On Thursday, the Latvian parliament, known as the Saeima, refused to lift the immunity of Ainars Slesers, one of Latvia's richest men and a sitting member of parliament (MP).

Law enforcement officers are seeking access to his home in a corruption probe.

Huge gamble

Town square in Riga
Riga is the capital of Latvia, population 2.2 millionImage: picture alliance/dpa

Zatlers is taking a risk with this latest move, which comes ahead of a parliamentary vote to choose a new president on Thursday.

According to the Latvian constitution, the president has the power to launch a referendum on whether parliament should be dissolved. If the public opposes such a move, Zatlers will have to step down. The referendum will have to take place in the next two months.

Latvia has been hit by a severe recession and has had to ask for a 7.5-billion-euro international bailout package to repair its crippled economy.

Zatlers has been president of the former Soviet republic since 2007. His tenure ends on July 7 and he is seeking re-election.

Author: Nicole Goebel (dpa, AP, AFP)
Editor: Kyle James

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

A wide shot of the three-train accident in Odisha, India on June 3, 2023
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage