The first draft law specially prepared by Egils Levits as President has been submitted to the Saeima. This is the law of Latvian historical lands, the aim of which is to promote a sense of identity and belonging in the population.
Last week, representatives from all factions of the Saeima were invited to Riga Castle to inform the President about the draft law on Latvian historical lands. On Thursday, Egils Levits was ready to present it to the general public.
The press conference is symbolically convened in the Coat of Arms Hall. President Egils Levits expressed hope that the first draft law prepared by him would strengthen the citizens’ belonging to their historical lands and would serve to preserve the diversity of Latvianness for future generations.
“Latvianness is not flat and standardized, as we were told and the policy was developed during the Soviet occupation to reduce the strength and historical depth of Latvian identity,” Levits said.
While working on the draft law, Levits also organized a series of discussions both in Riga and in the regions on these issues. It is planned to close on Friday in Rēzekne.
The new draft law includes five Latvian historical lands – Kurzeme, Latgale, Sēlija, Zemgale, Vidzeme – and the affiliation of settlements to one of them, thus trying to dispel the confusion or dislike that has arisen in some places after the adoption of the administrative-territorial reform law. At the same time, there is talk of small cultural premises, four are currently registered in this status – Suiti, Rucava, Liv coast and Upīte.
It is planned to establish a Latvian Historical Land Development Council, which will include both ministers and representatives of other institutions, but in general, the draft law is more symbolic than practical. It does not provide funding for specific local identity strengthening activities, but it should appear in the Development Plan for Historic Lands and Cultural Premises, which is the task of the Ministry of Culture.
The President hopes that the law could be adopted in the Saeima by the end of the year.