RIGA -- After nearly seven hours of debate, Latvian lawmakers passed the government's proposed budget for 2008 at its second reading on Nov. 8.
54 deputies voted for the budget and 39 against.
The budget is the first to aim for an annual surplus as a means of controlling the country's runaway inflation, which currently stands at 13.2 percent. According to the numbers, 2008 will see the government spend 5.335 bln lats and generate income of LVL 5.498 bln lats, a surplus equivalent to 1 percent of GDP.
Opposition figures argued throughout the debate that those figures have been extensively massaged and that in reality the budget will still record a deficit.