Latvia's parliament, the Saeima, voted off the agenda a bill which would reinstate conscription, with technicalities and uncertainty while awaiting the formation of a new coalition being the main factors, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) Latvia correspondent Ragnar Kond reported Thursday.
The reason given was that since the Saeima received over a hundred proposal amendments, it would take at least two weeks to process them all.
Arvils Ašeradens, of New Unity (JV), the prime minister's party, told AK: "Latvians have a proverb - measure seven times, but cut once."
"We are all of the conviction that while this is a very important reform for the country, it must be properly prepared. The army and the training centers that will be responsible for conscripts must be ready, while the attitude of society must also be gauged," Ašeradens went on.
Another issue was the status of the large numbers of Latvian citizens resident outside the country. "There are 370,000 of these," Ašeradens told AK
Opposition (though in coalition negotiations) MP Raivis Dzintars of the National Alliance party (NA), said NA: "Has been calling for the introduction of mandatory military service for many years. But we have previously encountered opposition from all the other parties represented in the parliament. Now, in the context of the war in Ukraine, the Ministry of Defense and other coalition parties have quickly fallen in line with our positions."
Officials from the Saeima's legal department were among the bill's harshest critics, meanwhile, adding that it had been too hastily-drafted.
The outcome is that the conscription round originally planned for January 2023 is likely to to materialize before summer.
While Latvia's Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (For Latvia's Development - LA) raised the question of whether the bill will stagnate, politicians stressed that this does not mean Latvia has abandoned the idea, while the country recently held elections and a new coalition resulting from that still has not been formed up.
Another area of legislation which has stalled concerns same-sex marriage, AK reported. A bill which would grant equal rights on marriage was also voted off the agenda at the Saeima.
The bill would see recruitment take place biannually, for 12 month terms, on January 1 and July 1 and will be compulsory for all men aged 18-27 after a five-year transition period, with deferments available in the case of university students.
Latvia abolished conscription in 2007, while Estonia and Finland retain it; Lithuania reinstated conscription in 2016, Sweden in 2017.
New Unity won the highest share of the votes (18.97 percent) at the parliamentary elections earlier this month and is currently talking to the Progressives, United Latvian List (LAS) and NA, with the issues including whether a quadripartite coalition will emerge, or a tripartite coalition remain.
Editor: Andrew Whyte