Latvia's Ruling Parties Ignore OSCE Recommendations

Latvia's ruling coalition is going to reject the OSCE appeal for withdrawal of the provisions requiring advanced knowledge of the Latvian language for participating in parliamentary or municipal elections. The announcement came Friday from representatives of the parliamentary factions of the two ruling parties. "We gave the OSCE no promises to cancel those provisions, so I don't see why Parliament should take such a reckless step," said Kristiana Libane, spokesman for the Latvian Way party. According to the leader of the People's Party of Latvia Vineta Muizniece, it is not the language requirements but the demand to cancel them is really discriminative. The Latvian parties in power made the above statements in response to an appeal by chairman of the OSCE mission in Latvia Peter Semneby. The OSCE official had requested Latvia to cancel the language census for parliamentary candidates, following the example of Estonia. On Thursday, Semneby published an article in Latvian newspapers, qualifying the requirements as "running counter international law." The European official believes that the provisions in question might have negative effect on Latvia's further integration into the united European agencies.