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Cobalt Represents Latvia's Central Election Commission in Challenge to Extraordinary Election

Cobalt Represents Latvia's Central Election Commission in Challenge to Extraordinary Election

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Cobalt has represented Latvia's Central Election Commission in proceedings before the Regional Administrative Court in Riga regarding the annulment of extraordinary elections to the Riga City Council.

Cobalt reports that the “extraordinary elections to the Riga City Council took place on August 29. [Subsequently] it was discovered during the elections [that almost] 600 ballots have been placed in envelopes with missing electoral seals in three polling stations. The law does not allow these ballots counted due to technical inadmissibility. On September 14 to 16 the Regional Administrative Court examined the applications filed against the Central Election Commission by four political parties and their associations, in which a number of claims were made: a request to annul the results of the elections to the Riga City Council in three polling stations, to oblige the CEC to announce re-voting in the three polling stations, to recount votes in all the polling stations in Riga, as well as to announce repeated elections or repeated voting throughout the city of Riga.”

“The court satisfied the applications for the recounting of votes in the three polling stations in Riga, where the court identified accidental human errors in the work carried out by the polling station commission, as a result of which the ballot envelopes did not bear the seal,” according to Cobalt. “The Regional Administrative Court carried out an examination of the evidence and concluded that the violations had not resulted from illicit interference. The court derogated from the requirement laid down in the Elections Law to declare the unsealed envelopes removed from the ballot box null and void. The court instructed to have them opened and add the votes to the total number of votes cast, so to ensure the fundamental rights of citizens to participate in elections and express a free will of the voters as enshrined in the [Constitution]. The court ruled that the unsealed envelopes shall be taken into account when recounting the votes in the three polling stations.”

Other applications to the court were rejected, Cobalt reports, and the court found that “there were no grounds for recounting votes in other polling stations, all the more so for announcing repeated extraordinary elections to the Riga City Council, owing to the fact that a fair and appropriate settlement may be achieved with the first judgment of the Regional Court on the recounting of votes."

Following the court’s instructions, the Central Election Commission recounted the votes. The recounts did not affect the outcome of the elections. Cobalt adds that the Central Election Commission's recount decision cannot be appealed and that “the extraordinary elections to the Riga City Council have been finalized, and the newly elected City Council may convene for legislative sessions.”

Cobalt’s team included Managing Partner Lauris Liepa and Associate Inese Greke.

Latvian Knowledge Partner

COBALT is closely integrated alliance of top-tier law offices in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus, making us one of the largest law firms in the Baltic market. 

COBALT is a trusted partner for daily matters and complex large-scale transactions and disputes. The firm’s broad spectrum of expertise and established position as the market leader give a comprehensive basis for providing advice on special areas of business law.

We advise top international and regional businesses, financial institutions, state and local governments, and the region’s most promising start-ups. We offer leading-edge solutions in key industry sectors: Consumer Products, Trade & Distribution, Real Estate & Construction, Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare, Energy & Utilities, Communications, Media & Technologies, Financial Services, Transport & Logistics.

COBALT has been named Baltic Law Firm of the Year 6 times. We were recognized as the Most Innovative Law Firm of the Year 2019 in the Baltics at the IFLR European Awards in London. COBALT also won CEE Legal Matters Deal of the Year Award for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as the overall Baltic Deal of the Year, at the 2019 CEE Legal Matters Awards. We have received multiple awards from the Chambers Europe, IFLR, The Lawyer and Mergermarket and we are regularly listed amongst the top performing M&A legal advisors in the Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters and Mergermarket deal tables

More information on Cobalt can be found at www.cobalt.legal

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