Rīga City CouncilPhoto: Latvijas Radio / Jānis Kincis

Local deputies to pay the price for lack of Latvian skills

The municipal deputies the State Language Centre invites to improve their state language skills to the necessary level will have to use their own resources, according to the amendments to the Law On the Status of the Deputy of the Republic City Council and Municipality Council passed in Saeima, according to the Parliamentary Press Service on February 13.

Municipalities will no longer have to finance deputies learning the state language, which will save the money for the municipal budget. Deputies will have six months to learn the state language to the minimally required level, and will have to prove their skills by passing a re-examination one month later.

According to the amendments the State Language Centre will have to go through the district (city) courts with a request to annul their authority as a deputy if the deputy fails to appear for the state language examination without justification. Their authority can also be annulled if it's repeatedly determined that their skills don't meet the minimum required level, which the Cabinet of Ministers has defined as the C1 level.

The sponsors of the amendment want to hold municipal deputy candidates and parties to account when they hand in the state language self-assessments before elections. Previously the State Language Centre would test the deputies and inform the corresponding city council chair about which deputies don't meet the minimum requirements, but a specific term was not set for the re-examination.