Do you think this is the beginning of more dominos falling around the globe? 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. This drastic move that will serve to suppress the voters caused one U.S. public health authority to ponder, “Why can’t we be Latvia?”
Latvia is a Baltic nation that has a 100-member parliament known as the Saeima. They effectively barred elected lawmakers from having a voice in the nation’s laws. Even more surprising is that they enacted this new law by a 62-7 vote last Friday.
The new legislation took effect on Monday, November 15. So now, a legislator will be entitled to participate in the work of parliament only if he or she has presented an interoperable Covid-19 certificate confirming the fact of vaccination. They are to present this information to the body’s Mandate, Ethics, and Submissions Committee, according to a press release from the governing body.
Juris Rancāns is the MP who is responsible for developing this new law. The Saeima paraphrased his statement saying that the law was necessary to promote public confidence in the country’s Covid-19 infection control policy and institutions.
Rancāns is a part of the New Conservative Party. His colleagues may also develop a certificate showing that they have recovered from COVID-19. They could also use an opinion from a specialist or council of a clinical university hospital that suggests the postponement of vaccination for medical reasons. This would have to be combined with a negative COVID test. If you don’t have any of this, everyone else would have to sit out of legislative discussions. They would 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.
This new law is set to remain in effect until July of 2022, but the president of the Saeima will reexamine the law at least every other month.
Euronews reported that this new measure would apply to local government lawmakers as well. There are a total of nine MPs who have refused and 62 local lawmakers who have yet to receive their certificate of vaccination, according to regional media.
There are some public health officials who have said they would support a similar measure in the United States now that vaccination rates have stalled.
Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an adjunct senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists and previously a researcher at Harvard Medical School, tweeted this message: “Latvia bans unvaccinated lawmakers from voting in Parliament and in municipal councils. #whycantwebeLatvia?” He also noted that the move by Latvia was “bold.”
The move made by Latvia created a storm of international backlash from people across the political landscape. Max Blumenthal, a former Media Matters writer and the son of Clinton’s friend Sidney Blumenthal, challenged that it “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.”
Paul Oakley, a former spokesperson for the UK Independence Party said that if Covid fascists are coming for elected politicians, they will soon come for ordinary people, too. He warned that things are becoming very ugly and going to end very badly.
This legislation in Latvia coincides with a move to enact a “green code” that creates a two-tiered society between those with a vaccine passport and those without.
Whether this is right for the U.S. or not is yet to be determined. But, we do have to point out that, at the very least, Latvia is listening to science. If you’re not vaccinated but you’ve gotten (and recovered from COVID), that’s just as good. Why? Antibodies.