A case has been initiated regarding the norms prohibiting a soldier from joining a political party


On 18 August 2022, the 2nd Panel of the Constitutional Court initiated a case “On the compliance of Section 10, Paragraph Two, and Section 15, Paragraph One, Clause 1 of the Military Service Law with the first sentence of Article 91 and with Article 102 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia”.

The contested norms

Section 10, Paragraph Two of the Military Service Law provided for as follows: “A soldier has the right to be a member of such associations and foundations which do not have a political nature, as well as to establish associations and foundations for soldiers and participate in other non-political activities if such activities do not interfere with the performance of service duties.”

Whereas, in accordance with Section 15, Paragraph One of the Military Service Law, a soldier is prohibited from political activity.

Norms with a higher legal force

The first sentence of Article 91 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia (hereinafter referred to as – the Satversme) stipulates as follows: “All human beings in Latvia shall be equal before the law and the courts.”

Article 102 of the Satversme stipulates as follows: “Everyone has the right to form and join associations, political parties and other public organisations.”

The facts of the case

The case was initiated based on an application of a natural person (hereinafter referred to as – the Applicant). The Applicant is a professional serviceman who wishes to join a particular political party. However, due to the contested norms, the Applicant is not allowed to be engaged in a political party while performing the duties of a soldier.

The Applicant points out that the prohibition included in the contested norms disproportionately restricts his right to the freedom of association, which is provided for in Article 102 of the Satversme. The mean chosen by the legislator allegedly is not suitable to achieve the legitimate aim of the restriction of the fundamental right. Moreover, there are allegedly more lenient means which would be less restrictive of the fundamental rights established in Article 102 of the Satversme, but allow to achieve the legitimate aim of the restriction of fundamental rights in equal quality. Namely, the legislator was allegedly able to adopt such a regulation which allows a soldier to be a founder and member of a political party, but prevents him from actively representing his political interests in the service. The contested norms also allegedly violate the principle of legal equality. Professional servicemen allegedly are under equal and by certain criteria comparable conditions, including with home guards, reserve soldiers and employees of the Ministry of the Interior system, who are not prohibited from joining political parties. There is allegedly no objective and reasonable basis for such a difference in treatment, and it is allegedly not proportionate.

Judicial proceedings

  • The deadline for preparation of the case is 18 January 2023.

The Court shall decide on the procedure and date for hearing the case after the case is prepared.

Press release in PDF is available here.

Linked case: 2022-33-01