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Latvia’s move towards an electronic parliament: The e-Saeima

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Latvian parliament (Saeima) was forced to adopt digital innovations at a speed never witnessed before. In order to ensure that legislators were able to fulfil core parliamentary functions while adhering to physical distancing requirements necessary to limit the spread of the virus, a holistic technological solution was developed, called the “e-Saeima”.

Through the e-Saeima, Members of Parliament no longer have to be physically present at the parliament building to carry out their work. Apart from being able to work fully remotely from anywhere in the world, the platform enables secure identification of MPs and electronic voting through e-signature in real time. In recognition of their varying levels of experience in the use of IT tools, parliamentarians received extensive training and support as they moved to a new fully virtual parliamentary environment.

E-Saeima sittings are not just open to MPs to deliberate, but to the public at large too. This means that anyone can follow the remote sittings online.