Referendum on 23 July, 2011
President Valdis Zatlers called the referendum under the power given to him by the constitution on 28 May 2011. Zatlers called the referendum in response to the Saeima‘s refusal to sanction a search at the home of MP Ainārs Šlesers, leader of Latvia’s First Party/Latvian Way and a former cabinet minister. According to the current legal procedure, the referendum on the Saeima’s dissolution had to take place no later than two months after the President’s decree.
The Constitution of Latvia foresaw that if the people had not supported Zatlers’ decision, he would have had to resign from the presidency. This could have created a judicial conundrum, however, since Zatlers’ current term expired on 7 July and the Saeima held a presidential election (in which Zatlers was also a candidate) on 2 June. As Zatlers was not reelected, however, this conundrum was avoided.