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Andris Bērziņš

During his term in office, President of Latvia Andris Bērziņš has returned 2 laws to the Saeima for secondary consideration.

On Amendments to the Law on Civil Procedure

President Andris Bērziņš has announced that on July 28, he vetoed amendments to the law on civil procedure and sent them back to the Saeima for secondary consideration. In the letter which accompanied the veto and was sent to Saeima Speaker Solvita Āboltiņa, the President said that his decision is based on the need to strike a sensible balance between the interests of lenders and borrowers, to observe the state’s duty to take care of families and children who have found themselves in difficulties, as well as to ensure a harmonised and transparent law and supporting texts.
 
The President also wrote that when it comes to the collection of child support from people who owe it, more money is collected from them than from other debtors. The amendments to the law provide for an opposite situation, which means that in truth, the law would more protect the interests of those who do not pay child support, because it would ban the collection of such monies, thus leaving the debtor with a sum of money that is below the minimum monthly wage.
 

Latvian law on the national border

President of Latvia Andris Bērziņš wrote to Saeima Speaker Solvita Āboltiņa today to demand a secondary review of the law on amending the Latvian law on the national border. He did so in accordance with the rights that are given to the President in Article 71 of the Latvian Constitution.

 
In his letter, the President wrote that after listening to views from various parties about the law, he was not convinced that the amendments speak to the best legal solutions in this area. Mr Bērziņš feels that another review of the law will help to clear up the situation and to ensure that public interests are observed. “I commend the Saeima for finally resolving the issue of administering queues on Latvia’s land border, and amendments to the law are necessary and urgent,” the President wrote. “I have no doubt that administration of the queues must be electronic. If the Saeima and Cabinet of Ministers so determine, responsibility for this issue can be assigned to the Transport Ministry.”
 
President Bērziņš wrote that the Presidential Chancery received a request from several companies on January 18 to send the law back to Parliament for secondary consideration because it limits honest competition and is not in line with public interests. The Chancery organised a meeting to learn the views of all involved parties, including those of the relevant government institutions. The President wrote that the materials that he received from government institutions and the views that were expressed at the meeting suggest that the greatest differences of opinion have to do with the opportunity to delegate the resolution of the land border queues: “The first issue is whether it can be delegated at all. The second issue is whether it can be delegated to a private individual. The third issue is whether it can be delegated to the subject of law that is stated in the law.”
 
The President noted that “the amendments speak to the delegation of this administrative process to a professional organisation which represents Latvia in the International Road Transport Union. Only the ‘Latvijas Auto” association of road transporters does so. The law on national governance and previous legislative practices do not ban a decision that administrative tasks can be delegated to a specific subject of the law that is indicated in the law, and the association is one such subject. At the same time, however, this should be seen as an exception, not a fundamental principle.” Mr Bērziņš concluded that “even though the law on national governance does not demand a bid for tenders to find the entity with which to conclude the delegation agreement, the system of governance must observe the principle of good governance and organise bids for tender when they are necessary. The Transportation Ministry indicated the need for a bid for tenders in a letter which it sent on March 23, 2011, to a one of the companies which have asked that the law be evaluated for a second time.”
 
President Bērziņš concluded the letter by noting that the basic function of the Saeima is legislation, adding that it should not deal with shifting administrative and economic issues, instead dealing with essential issues in the law. For that reason, the President wrote, it would be wrong to send a signal to say that administrative and economic issues can be resolved and competition can, to a certain extent, be limited in the law by specifying and regulating the activities of specific private individuals. “Because of this,” the President wrote, “it is specifically the Cabinet of Ministers which should determine whether and to whom Latvia can delegate administration of queues on the land border. There must also be rules on effective control so as to make sure that information related to domestic security is not used for illegal purposes.”