Latvija in brief - 2011-07-21

  • 2011-07-20

The Saeima on July 14 appointed University of Latvia Law School professor Sanita Osipova as a Constitutional Court judge, reports LETA. Eighty-three Saeima members voted for Osipova, with no votes against and one abstention.  Osipova herself did not attend as she is currently reading lectures in Germany. Osipova was born in 1968; in 1991 she graduated from the University of Latvia with a degree in law. In 1998, Osipova received a doctorate in law. During Saeima’s Legal Affairs Committee’s meeting previously, Osipova said she felt suitable for the job and was prepared to consolidate the rule of law in Latvia. Osipova has 20 years of experience as a lecturer at the University of Latvia, where she has written 28 scientific articles and conducted two research studies. According to Ilma Cepane (Unity) and Gaidis Berzins (All for Latvia-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK), Osipova’s colleagues say she is popular with students and respected by colleagues.

Compared to last week, the registered unemployment rate in Latvia remains constant and totals 12.4 percent, according to State Employment Agency data, reports LETA. Since the end of June, unemployment has decreased 0.2 percent, and currently 139,986 unemployed are registered with the Agency, which is 2,442 less than at the end of June. In the middle of July, compared to the previous month, the unemployment rate decreased in all regions and biggest cities of Latvia. The unemployment rate in Riga region, Kurzeme and Vidzeme decreased 0.2 percent. In Latgale it decreased 0.3 percent, in Zemgale - 0.4 percent. The highest unemployment rate remains in Latgale - 20.6 percent, whereas the lowest unemployment remains in Riga region - 9.2 percent. The registered unemployment rate in Latvia in January and February was 14.5 percent. The rate in March was 14.4 percent, in April - 13.9, in May - 13.2 percent. In June, the rate decreased to 12.6 percent.

Minister of Culture Sarmite Elerte (Unity), commenting to reporters on July 18 following her meeting with President Andris Berzins, said that there must be serious discussion about what language the president and prime minister speak, reports LETA. Elerte said that she disagrees with Berzins’ view that language is “just a means of communication.” In the Constitution, the Latvian language is designated as the official state language, the minister underlined. Berzins recently pointed out that in ancient times language was used as a tool to keep two battling tribes separated. He concluded that “we have not advanced very far from this situation.” The president, responding to a question, vowed that at all official events, when necessary, he will use the Latvian language; still, he will also try to respond in the language spoken to him. Berzins also declared that one must speak in Russian to the Russian community, so that they “understand the information better.”