Latvia has voted to ban politicians from voting on laws, debating bills in person or virtually, or receiving their salary if they refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccination. The anti-democratic act of voter suppression led at least one U.S. public health authority to ask, “Why can’t we be Latvia?”
The Baltic nation’s 100-member parliament, known as the Saeima, barred elected lawmakers from having a voice in the nation’s laws by a 62-7 vote on Friday. The legislation took effect on Monday.
Beginning November 15, a legislator “will be entitled to participate in the work of the Saeima only if he or she has presented an interoperable Covid-19 certificate confirming the fact of vaccination” to the body’s Mandate, Ethics, and Submissions Committee, according to a press release from the governing body.
The Saeima paraphrased the MP responsible for the law, Juris Rancāns, as saying, “the law is necessary to promote public confidence in the country’s Covid-19 infection control policy, institutions, including the Saeima.”
Rancāns is a member of the New Conservative Party.
Lawmakers may also produce a certificate showing that they have recovered from COVID-19 or “an opinion from a specialist or council of a clinical university hospital” suggesting “the postponement of vaccination” for medical reasons, together with a negative COVID test. Everyone else must sit out legislative discussions, lose their ability to shape the nation’s laws, and lose their vote.
“The payment of the monthly salary and compensation will be suspended for the Saeima deputy who will not be entitled to participate in the work of the parliament,” the Saeima added.
The law will remain in effect until July 2022, although the president of the Saeima will reexamine the law at least every other month.
“The measure also applies to local government lawmakers …,” Euronews reported.
In the United States, where vaccination rates have stalled, some public health officials said they would support similar measures for the United States.
“Latvia bans unvaccinated lawmakers from voting in Parliament and in municipal councils. #whycantwebeLatvia?” tweeted epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an adjunct senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists and previously a researcher at Harvard Medical School. He also called the move “bold.”
The first business day after his tweet, NBC News sought out and quoted Dr. Feigl-Ding in a news story about Austria’s “nationwide lockdown for unvaccinated people.”
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) November 12, 2021
Journalist Amanda Rivkin of Germany’s DW.com also worried that Latvia’s anti-democratic action would do little to reduce “intransigence when it comes to authority.”
Dubious this will do much to solve the larger problem of not so much vaccine reluctance but intransigence when it comes to authority: Latvia bans unvaccinated lawmakers from voting, docks pay | Reuters https://t.co/yOg0bwtkxN
— Amanda Rivkin (@amandarivkin) November 13, 2021
But Lativa’s action also touched off an international backlash from people across the political spectrum. Max Blumenthal, a former Media Matters writer and the son of Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal, warned that it “[m]ight be only a matter of time before ordinary citizens also begin to lose their right to vote for not taking a state-mandated medical intervention.”
Latvia, another NATO vassal state, decided yesterday to ban The Unvaccinated from voting in parliament. Might be only a matter of time before ordinary citizens also begin to lose their right to vote for not taking a state-mandated medical intervention. https://t.co/WN2tBagttL https://t.co/ky8NSAmmfq
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) November 16, 2021
“If the covid fascists are coming for elected politicians they’ll be coming for ordinary people too,” said conservative former UK Independence Party (UKIP) spokesman Paul Oakley. “This is becoming very, very ugly and is going to end very, very badly.”
Wow. Latvia bans MPs from voting in parliament if unvaccinated and docks their pay. If the covid fascists are coming for elected politicians they'll be coming for ordinary people too. This is becoming very, very ugly and is going to end very, very badly. https://t.co/sapEQmudt7
— Paul Oakley (@PaulJamesOakley) November 13, 2021
The parliamentarian maneuver comes as Latvia enacts a “green code” that creates a two-tiered society between those with a vaccine passport and those without.
“All services are provided with a Covid-19 certificate of vaccination or recovery, except for basic services” like groceries and emergency health care, according to Latvia’s official tourism portal. Most stores must close at 9 p.m., and the number of patrons is strictly regulated.
“Still think this is all about controlling a virus?” asked Kezia Noble. “Never was.”
Still think this is all about controlling a virus?
— Kezia Noble (@kezia_noble) November 15, 2021
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.