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Latvija in brief - 2013-02-07

Feb 06, 2013

Ruling coalition partners have differing opinions on the best way to solve the problem of higher central heating bills: the Reform Party proposes that a special task force be set up, whereas All for Latvia-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK (VL-TB/LNNK) and the independent MPs say that the problem must be considered in a wider context by the Saeima subcommittee to whom it pertains, reports LETA. The Reform Party’s idea of establishing a task force to tackle the problem of higher heating bills was not supported during the Coalition Council’s meeting on Feb. 4, said Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis of the Reform Party. VL-TB/LNNK Saeima group chairman Einars Cilinskis said that the coalition had discussed complex solutions to energy efficiency matters. He and independent MP Viktors Valainis indicated that the Saeima Housing Subcommittee would work on these problems. The central heat utility Rigas siltums recently disclosed that rates would further increase by 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent in January compared to December.

Three-quarterss of Latvia’s residents support the idea of the president being elected by popular vote, according to a public opinion survey carried out by the TNS Latvia agency, reports LETA. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they supported the idea, of which 51 percent said that the president of Latvia should definitely be elected by the people, and 26 percent said they tended to support the idea rather than not. Eighteen percent said that the president should not be elected by popular vote, and 5 percent said they did not care. The proposal that the president be elected by popular vote is mostly supported by non-citizens, non-Latvians, residents with primary education and low-income residents. The survey was carried out from Jan. 22 to Jan. 24; 650 economically active residents aged 18 to 55 were interviewed. Harmony Center recently submitted to Saeima constitutional amendments proposing that the president be elected by popular vote, but the amendments were voted down.

Today, even more than during the pre-crisis period, it is important not to rely on habits but to seek new development opportunities and learn to take reasonable risks in the name of future growth, President Andris Berzins said during his lecture ‘Latvia and the European Union: geopolitical and economic prospects’ at the University of Latvia on Feb. 5, reports LETA. Berzins explained that those who will be able to adapt to the new conditions will have advantages since national policies, export markets and raw material prices change rapidly. The success of Latvian politicians and businesspeople also depends on their skills to make use of these new worldwide opportunities. “These years have brought challenges to our economy, state administration and, what is more important, our people and families. It is clear that it hides not only threats, but also opportunities. Therefore, I urge everyone to think about those lessons that caused recent changes in Europe and worldwide,” said Berzins.

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