The Saeima (Latvian pronunciation: [ˈsa.ɛi.ma]) is the parliament of the Republic of Latvia. It is a unicameral parliament consisting of 100 members who are elected by proportional representation, with seats allocated to political parties which gain at least 5% of the popular vote. Elections are scheduled to be held once every four years, normally on the first Saturday of October. The most recent elections were held in October 2018.
|Founded||7 November 1922|
|Disbanded||temporarily dissolved 1934-1940|
suspended from 1940-1991
|Open list proportional representation with a 5% election threshold|
|6 October 2018|
|House of the Livonian Noble Corporation, Riga|
The President of Latvia can dismiss the Saeima and request early elections. The procedure for dismissing it involves substantial political risk to the president, including a risk of loss of office. On May 28, 2011, president Valdis Zatlers decided to initiate the dissolution of the Saeima, which was approved in a referendum, and the Saeima was dissolved on 23 July 2011.
Deputies are elected to represent one of five constituencies: Kurzeme (13 deputies), Latgale (15), Riga (30), Vidzeme (27), and Zemgale (15). Seats are distributed in each constituency by open list proportional representation among the parties that overcome a 5% national election threshold using an unmodified version of the Webster/Sainte-Laguë method.
The word "Saeima", meaning "a gathering, a meeting, a council", was constructed by the Young Latvian Juris Alunāns. It stems from the archaic Latvian word eima meaning "to go" (derived from the PIE *ei "to go" and also a cognate with the Ancient Greek eimi, Gaulish eimu, among others). Despite the visual similarity to the names of the Lithuanian and Polish national parliaments – Seimas and Sejm – the name "Saeima" is linguistically distinct, and does not have any historical ties to its Lithuanian and Polish counterparts.
Summary of the 6 October 2018 Latvian Saeima election results
|Who Owns the State?||120,264||14.25||16||New|
|New Conservative Party||114,694||13.59||16||+16|
|Union of Greens and Farmers||83,675||9.91||11||–10|
|Latvian Association of Regions||35,018||4.14||0||–8|
|Latvian Russian Union||27,014||3.20||0||0|
|For Latvia from the Heart||7,114||0.84||0||–7|
|For an Alternative||2,900||0.34||0||New|
|SKG Union (LSDSP–KDS–GKL)||1,735||0.20||0||New|
|Eurosceptic Action Party||1,059||0.12||0||New|
|Latvian Centrist Party||897||0.10||0||New|
In the pre-war Latvia, Saeima was elected for three year terms. 1st Saeima met from November 7, 1922 until November 2, 1925. 2nd Saeima from November 3, 1925 until November 5, 1928. 3rd Saeima from November 6, 1928 until November 2, 1931. 4th Saeima met from November 3, 1931 until the May 15, 1934 Latvian coup d'état.
- "Zatlers nolemj rosināt Saeimas atlaišanu" [Zatlers decides to initiate thedissolution of the Saeima]. Delfi (in Latvian). May 28, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2011.
- Zuicena, Ieva; Migla, Ilga (2008). "Jura Alunāna devums latviešu leksikogrāfijā" (PDF). LU Raksti (in Latvian). 731: 75. ISSN 1407-2157. Retrieved 2010-05-27.