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Three Latvian MPs suspended from voting in parliament after refusing COVID jab

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By Matthew Holroyd
The new measure came into force in Latvia on November 15.
The new measure came into force in Latvia on November 15.   -   Copyright  GINTS IVUSKANS / AFP

Three Latvian MPs have been suspended from voting in parliament after refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Under a recent measure, only lawmakers who have been vaccinated or have recovered from the virus may participate in the Latvian parliament (Saeima).

MPs who have medical proof that they should not be vaccinated must still provide a negative test result to enter the building.

The rule was adopted by MPs last month and came into effect on November 15. Those MPs who have not abided by the measure have also had their pay suspended.

Some legal experts have questioned the constitutionality of measures, which were also introduced in the Australian state of Victoria.

A spokesperson for the Saeima confirmed that 97% of the 100 elected lawmakers in Latvia have been fully vaccinated.

"As of 7 December, 97 out of 100 MPs have presented a COVID‑19 certificate," the spokesperson told Euronews.

"That means that there are 3 MPs who do not have the right to engage in the work of the Parliament," they added. 

The identities of the unvaccinated MPs were not revealed.

"A Member of the Saeima may only participate in the work of the parliament if they have presented an interoperable COVID‑19 vaccination or recovery certificate," the parliament spokesperson reiterated.

Latvia was the first country in Europe to reimpose a national lockdown in October amid a surge in new coronavirus infections.

Only 59.5% of Latvia's 1.9 million adult population is fully vaccinated, well below the EU average of 66.4%, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).