A view of the Saeima, in Riga, Source: Saeima Official Facebook page

Latvia’s parliament votes to suspend non-vaccinated MPs

Latvia’s parliament votes to suspend non-vaccinated MPs

The antivax-minded lawmakers will not be able to attend sessions or vote

Today, the Saeima, as the Latvian parliament is locally known, adopted a ban against its members who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine. This will effectively bar them from carrying out their work duties, such as attending legislative sessions, participating in debates and voting.

The restrictions on the vaccine-wary MPs were passed with support from 62 of the 100 lawmakers and are set to enter into force from Monday, 15 November until mid-2022. What’s more, the provision also includes suspension of pay.

Latvian authorities are getting increasingly tougher on anti-vaxxer moods

Although more than a third of the country’s MPs did not support the measure by voting against or abstaining, Reuters reported that it was known that nine of the lawmakers had rejected the jab, according to state television.

The country is currently battling the worst wave of infections in its national COVID-19 pandemic history – one that forced authorities to impose a hard lockdown this autumn. The Saeima, however, did not stop there and decided to continue with radical measures, likely in the knowledge that restrictions alone will not solve the issue of recurring waves and mounting pressure on the healthcare system.

For that reason, a week ago the very same legislators passed a law, which gave employers the permission to fire workers who continuously refused to get vaccinated. This time around it seems that it was the time for the MPs to lead by example and show that the restrictions on working did not stop at the parliament’s gates.

The Baltic country has one of the least vaccinated populations in the European Union and the society and economic life are suffering the consequences. The lockdown, which came into effect on 22 October and is set to expire on Monday, 15 November, has only had a moderate effect in encouraging people to get the immunity shot.



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