Latvia’s First Party/Latvia’s Way (LPP/LC) has decided to support Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis’ (New Era) government, thereby giving the latter a majority in Saeima, reports LETA. Dombrovskis made the announcement on March 29 following a meeting of the ruling coalition council. LPP/LC will also decide on April 12 as to what form the support will take, and whether it will accept the offer to assume foreign, health and justice minister offices. LPP/LC Chairman Ainars Slesers said that if the parties are unable to agree on any of the issues, “this will not be an obstacle to further cooperation. We have voted for this government, and will support it in the future, therefore the government can count on a majority of votes in Saeima.” The ruling coalition also decided to liquidate the Regional Development and Local Government Ministry, but leave the other ministries alone until after the 10th Saeima elections, in October.
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The first low-floor tram has been delivered to Riga, confirms city council spokesman Dzintars Zaluksnis, reports LETA. The new tram was delivered from the Czech Republic. According to the Riga public transport ‘Rigas satiksme’ chief, Leons Bemhens, the tram cannot immediately be put into use, as it will first need to be tested, and checks will need to be carried out of its compatibility with existing infrastructure. “Passengers will be able to use the tram in the fall,” said Bemhens. Riga could receive the full order of 20 trams by end-2010, as Rigas satiksme is continuing preparation work for putting the trams into service. The depot under the VEF bridge has already been modernized, and reconstruction is being carried out of tracks and electric contacts at intersections. Adjustments are also being made to the #5 tram depot and to existing electric vehicle repair workshops so that they can ensure maintenance until a new tram repair workshop is built.
National flags in black dress were out on all public buildings on March 25 as Latvia marked 61 years since the Soviet deportations took place in 1949, reports LETA. Commemorative events were held throughout the country. Historians call the 1949 deportations to Siberia as one of the most tragic days in the modern history of Latvia. From March 25 to March 29, over 43,000 innocent civilians were deported to Siberia, including some 10,000 children, as well as young people, mothers with infants, old and sick, even dying people. The deportations concerned around 2.28 percent of all residents of Latvia. Altogether, 9,000 families were included in the list of deportees, which was drawn up on March 17, 1949. Only 31,600 persons returned back to Latvia in 1956. About 300 people marched from the Occupation Museum in Riga’s Old Town to lay flowers at the foot of the Freedom Monument in memory of the victims of the communist genocide.