Latvia - 2012 CSO Sustainability Index

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CSO SUSTAINABILITY: 2.7

Latvian citizens have been more active in promoting their views, protecting their rights, and speaking out against injustices recently. Following the parliamentary recall in 2011, politicians recognize that they can no longer ignore society’s views and that they must act in accordance with the will of the citizens.

The most important political event of the year was the referendum on amendments to the constitution to add Russian as a second official language. CSOs expressing extreme views on both ends of the spectrum motivated citizens to exercise their rights by voting in the referendum. According to the Central Election Commission, voter turnout was over 70 percent, with approximately 25 percent in favor of the amendment, and almost 75 percent against the amendment.

Throughout 2012, CSOs increasingly participated in the public policy process and constantly worked to improve the legal environment governing associations and foundations. Several citizen groups were also involved in issues such as the quality of education, integration and language, and the role of public media in society. At the same time, CSOs, particularly advocacy organizations, are struggling with weak capacity and limited funding as most resources are targeted at resolving social issues, such as social integration and poverty.

In 2012, there were 14,563 associations and 1,068 foundations registered in Latvia. Each month, roughly forty new associations and seven new foundations are founded.

Last updated: July 11, 2013