There aren’t many officials in Latvia that don’t know the state language well enough to perform their duties, said representative of the State Language Centre Sarmīte Pāvulēna in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.
She says Mayor of Daugavpils Rihards Eigims, who was previously given time to improve his Latvian language skills, has since improved. Unfortunately, his level remains insufficient to meet requirements.
Pāvulēna reminds that the State Language Centre has checked Eigims’ language skills on multiple occasions. She says Eigims has always been responsive towards meeting with the centre.
Balva County Council deputy Ivans Baranovs, on the other hand, behaves completely differently. His mandate was revoked once before following a request from the State Language Centre. Pāvulēna admits that work with him has been very poor.
When asked if the centre has any plans to propose legislation changes to avoid such situations in the future, the centre’s representative said that Saeima is already viewing amendments to the Law on the Status of the Deputy of the Republic City Council and Municipality Council.
As previously reported, the State Language Centre plans to turn to court with a request to revoke Eigims’ deputy mandate for not knowing the state language at a required level.
Eigims plans to continue performing his duties as mayor. He says he is prepared to turn to court.
This is not the first case when the State Language Centre has asked to have a Latvian official’s mandate to be revoked. For example, De Facto programme had reported at the end of April that the centre had plans to request Baranovs’ mandate to be revoked.
Five years ago the centre found that his language skills are insufficient and that he has no documents that would prove his skills are on an acceptable level. He was given time to improve his language skills. The centre could not test him afterward, however – Baranovs did not answer calls. The centre then asked his mandate to be revoked. After a long period of litigation, Baranovs’ mandate was revoked with approval from the Supreme Court.
Last year, however, Baranovs was reelected as deputy. The State Language Centre has not been able to reach him ever since his reelection to check his language skills.