Referendum to determine the status of Russian language in Latvia
On February 19, Latvia will hold a nationwide referendum on whether to make Russian the country’s second official language.
According to Latvia’s Central Election Commission, for the Russian language to acquire this status, more than one half of Latvia’s residents, which makes about 772 thousand people, must vote for it.
Out of Latvia’s total population of 2 mln people, nearly 16%, mainly ethnic Russians, have no citizenship and, thus, no right to vote.
In total, Russians make 44% of Latvia’s population.
The movement in support of the rights of Russian speakers started in Latvia on March 7. Currently, over 12% of the country’s population support it.
However, neither the president nor the parliament back this initiative.