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Politics

The Republic of Latvia was established in 1918, in 1991 it restored its independence, and by the people it was viewed as the beginning of Latvia’s return to Europe. In 2008, Latvia celebrated the 90th anniversary of the founding of the democratic Republic of Latvia. Latvia is a country that survived two world wars and 50 years behind the Iron Curtain. Now comes the end to the second decade of renewed independence, when Latvia plays prominent role in Europe and the world.

According to the Constitution of Latvia (Satversme), Latvia is a parliamentary republic. The 100-seat unicameral parliament, named the Saeima, is elected by direct popular vote every four years. The president is elected by the Saeima in a separate election, which is also held every four years, and serves largely representative functions. The prime minister is appointed by the president who, together with his cabinet, forms the executive branch of the government.

The first democratic elections of the 5th Saeima were held on Jun 5-6, 1993. Last elections were held on 2 October 2010, next to be held in October 2014. The Satversme, which was initiated on February 15, 1922, was fully re-instituted on July 6, 1993.

Current prime minister of Latvia is Valdis Dombrovskis, which took his post after the resignation of Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis in February 2009.

In January 2009, there was a series of protests evoked by economic and political problems in the country. Them, the economy of Latvia began to fall rapidly, which was partially a result of the global financial crisis. By November 2009, the unemployment rate reached 22.3% — the highest rate in the European Union. Heavy debt prompted the government of Latvia to make the cut of the budget and turn to the IMF and the EU for a bailout. Valdis Dombrovskis lost his majority in parliament in March 2010 when the largest coalition partner left the government in protest of the implementation of strong restrictive measures. He resumed the majority after his coalition won 58.6% of the vote in October 2010 elections. His party together with its coalition partner took 57 seats in the Parliament.