The Hottest Day of the Year
A partial solar eclipse on Lammas was followed by the hottest day of the year on Saturday (not that this part of the world gets to resemble the Sahara -- the mercury reached 28° C in Rīga... but we find that insufferable).
Yesterday was also the day our citizens were given the chance to vote to amend the Satversme, Latvia's Constitution, to allow the people to sack the Saeima, our Parliament.
The powers that be mostly urged people to stay home rather than vote for or against these changes -- a technique that is not exactly redolent of democratic convictions. Summer in Latvia is short and sweet, not conducive to traipsing to polling stations -- many people head for the countryside on the limited number of balmy weekends. Still, with 995 of 998 precincts reporting, 608 202 persons voted in favor of the amendments, 18 831 against.
That means, however, that the "servants of the people," as our Members of Parliament so love to describe themselves, can relax and return to misrule unhindered -- for the referendum to be valid, at least half of Latvia's eligible voters would need to vote in favor of the changes. The 40,14% garnered is insufficient.
Veiko Spolītis looks at some politicians' views on the referendum here.