The Saeima on May 13 elected physician and ‘E.Gulbja’ laboratory co-owner Didzis Gavars as the new health minister, reports LETA. The new official received convincing backing from deputies - 49 voted in his favor, with 25 against, and 16 abstentions. Gavars follows Foreign Minister Aivis Ronis as the second non-party minister in the government. The office of health minister became vacant with the People’s Party’s departure from the governing coalition. Gavars has previously declared that the first thing that should be put in order in the health sector is the emergency medical service. He was born in 1966, and in 1992 he graduated from the Latvian Medical Academy. In 2001 he stood in the Jurmala City Council elections on the Latvian Green Party list. Gavars has been included on several lists of Latvian millionaires compiled by the mass media. The doctor and businessman owns 57.03 percent of shares in ‘E.Gulbja laboratorija,’ and is also a member of the board.
Heating tariffs will increase significantly in Riga this summer, announced the Riga heat supply company ‘Rigas siltums,’ reports LETA. The hike in heating tariffs is due to the new natural gas tariffs from the gas supply company ‘Latvijas Gaze.’ After a gradual decrease in mid-2009, the heating tariffs remained at 29.24 lats (41.77 euros) per megawatt/hour from mid-November last year to this past March. In April, the tariff was raised to 34.69 lats per megawatt/hour, or by 18.6 percent. From May 1, the tariff increased to 36.05 lats per megawatt/hour (VAT excluded) - 23.3 percent more than in March and 5.2 percent more than in April. In June, the tariff could reach 38.09 lats per megawatt/hour (VAT excluded) - a 30.3 percent increase on March and 9.8 percent on April. And in July, the tariff could climb to 38.77 lats per megawatt/hour (VAT excluded) - 32.6 percent increase on March and 11.8 percent on April.
Following a joint meeting on May 14 in Riga Castle with President Valdis Zatlers and Saeima party leaders, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ivars Bickovics said that he has come to the conclusion that Janis Maizitis was not re-elected as prosecutor general not because of him as a candidate, but because of the “processes that developed at that time,” reports LETA. Bickovics stated that he now has information that he will utilize in preparing the next nomination. He underlined that Maizitis is not out of the running, but he could not say when the choice would be made. He only added that he does not plan to delay this process. People’s Party Saeima leader Vineta Muizniece named as the problem regarding Maizitis the fact that even before he was nominated, political parties had called him “their candidate.” Latvia’s First Party/Latvia’s Way Chairman Ainars Slesers opined that Maizitis was not re-elected due to “Unity’s political activity.”