Latvija in brief - 2010-01-20

  • 2010-01-20

The ruling coalition parties agreed on Jan. 18 that suspended State Revenue Service Director General Dzintars Jakans will be transferred via a rotation procedure to another post, said Finance Minister Einars Repse (New Era), reports LETA. The Finance Ministry will decide on which office Jakans will assume in about a week, and his new position “most certainly will not be in SRS,” Repse stressed. He said that he will retract his motion for a Cabinet vote on disciplinary action against Jakans. Repse had pushed for his ouster, citing multiple violations. The People’s Party opposed firing Jakans, while the Greens/Farmers Union supported his rotation. Asked whether Repse is now sending a “bad employee” to another agency, he responded: “That is a philosophical and fundamental question. My personal opinion is that Jakans must be penalized and removed from office, but if we in the coalition are not unanimous, a compromise must be found.”

The dialogue between the state authority and society has improved over the past year, said President Valdis Zatlers after a meeting with Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (New Era), reports LETA. “The fact that there have not been any major protests since last January proves that the dialogue has improved. Is it ideal? Of course not!” he said, and that there is still much room for improvement for state authorities to explain decisions to the public. He says the hardest period for Latvia was the three months following last January’s riots. The situation was very unpredictable at the time, however, the situation still remains tough. So that another crisis does not hit the country, the government and Saeima must work hard to not to get caught up in the pre-election campaign, but to work for the people. “Many structural reforms have not been fully completed. I would be very happy if these reforms continue now, not just after the elections,” Zatlers added.

Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (New Era) has ordered all Cabinet ministers and the heads of the Corruption Prevention Bureau (CPB) to review and decrease the number of functions that the state undertakes, reports LETA. The premier’s press secretary Liga Krapane said that Dombrovskis has ordered, by Feb. 1, additional information on state administration functions for the 2010 national budget, to guarantee a concise database on their financing levels, reduction or termination plans, thereby setting up an informative foundation for further budget preparation processes. Furthermore, the ministers and CPB, after consulting with the Latvian Employers’ Confederation, the Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia, the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Latvian Local Government Union, must prepare a comprehensive report on achievements in 2009, and include specific proposals on the functions, services, duties, processes and procedures that could be discarded or streamlined in coming years.