The Latvian direct democracy tools in a comparative European context


  • Fabio Ratto Trabucco University of Cassino


Latvia, national referendum, people’s initiative, parliamentary dissolution, recall referendum, Letonia, referendum nacional, iniciativa popular, disolución parlamentaria, referéndum revocatorio


This article analyses and compares the legal tools of direct democracy in Latvia and other European countries. Based on comparison, the author draws concludes the shortcomings of the legal framework of direct democracy in the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia. The author analyzes functioning of the direct democracy tools in Latvian practice and compares them with similar tools in other European countries, expressing his criticism towards Latvian legislation on the referendum and people’s initiative, finding that some mechanisms included in the Constitution are old-fashioned and ineffective. The article identifies actual shortcomings of the legal framework of the referendum and popular initiative both at the level of the Constitution and that of the law and makes suggestions for improvements of the mechanisms of direct democracy, particularly taking into account the experience of the other Baltic countries.

Este artículo analiza y compara las herramientas legales de la democracia directa en Letonia y en otros países europeos. Sobre la base de la comparación, el autor extrae conclusiones sobre las deficiencias del marco legal de la democracia directa letona. El autor analiza la legislación y la práctica letona sobre el referéndum y la iniciativa popular comparándola con las de otros países europeos, incluido el referéndum sobre la disolución del Parlamento, expresando críticas de que una serie de institutos parecen anticuados e ineficaces. El artículo identifica las deficiencias actuales del marco legal del referéndum y de la iniciativa popular tanto a nivel constitucional como legislativo e indica sugerencias para mejorar los mecanismos de la democracia directa letona, particularmente teniendo en cuenta la experiencia de otros países bálticos.

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How to Cite

Ratto Trabucco, F. (2019) “The Latvian direct democracy tools in a comparative European context”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 10(4), pp. 744–788. Available at: (Accessed: 23 February 2024).