Latvians Vote to Dissolve Parliament

Posted July 24th, 2011 at 2:10 am (UTC-5)
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Latvians have overwhelmingly voted to dismiss parliament in an unprecedented referendum aimed at ending corruption and what is widely considered a culture of graft between government and business leaders.

The Central Election Commission said Saturday initial results show nearly 95 percent of those who voted support the legislature's dissolution.

Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said he voted to sack parliament, saying it would be an opportunity to ensure that forces supporting the rule of law have a majority in a new legislature.

Former president Valdis Zatlers had called for the referendum to dissolve parliament in May, after some members of the legislature blocked a corruption investigation against one of their colleagues.

Mr. Zatlers said he realized his re-election chances would be hurt but that he felt compelled to stop corrupt practices. He later lost his re-election bid but has now formed his own political party.

New elections are expected to be held in September.