Constitutional Assembly of Latvia
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|History of Latvia|
Constitutional Assembly of Latvia (Latvian: Satversmes sapulce) was independent Latvia's first elected legislative body. Its main task was creating the constitution of Latvia - Satversme, which is still in effect to this day. The speaker of Assembly was Jānis Čakste, who later became the first President of Latvia. The assembly functioned from May 1, 1920 until November 7, 1922 when the 1st Saeima convened.
Electing the Constitutional Assembly
On August 19, 1919 Tautas padome issued the law about elections of Constitutional Assembly. Elections were open to male and female citizens who were older than 21, no minimal vote percentage was set, so many small parties were elected.
After the end of Latvian War of Independence in January 1920 Constitutional Assembly elections were quickly organized and held on April 17–18, 1920 when the people of Latvia voted in universal, equal, direct and proportional elections. 25 parties competed for 150 seats.
84.9% of eligible voters participated (677, 084 people). There were 57 candidate lists covering 5 regional constituencies and 16 parties won seats in the Assembly. One hundred fifty members, including 5 women, were elected. The most successful parties were the Social Democratic LSDSP (57 seats), LZS (26 seats) and Latgales Zemnieku partija (17 seats). The remainder of the seats went mostly to ethnic minorities - Committee of the German Baltic Parties, Democrats Union, Polish Party of Latvia and the Worker's Party, Jewish parties and others.
The first meeting of the Assembly took place on May 1, 1920, at Riga, in the House of the Livonian Noble Corporation which houses Latvian Parliament up to this day. The Constitutional Assembly drafted the basic law of the state — the Satversme — as well as other laws. It adopted a law on agrarian reform, a law on the election of the Saeima (Parliament), laws about State flag, State coat of arms, national anthem and other laws. The Constitutional Assembly had 21 standing committees. It held 213 plenary sessions and adopted 205 laws and 291 regulations having the force of law.