The pre-election period in Latvia officially began on June 5, with various restrictions coming into force for parties and persons regarding election campaigning and financing, reports LETA. Unlike in 2006, when the pre-election campaign period began 270 days before the 9th Saeima elections, the pre-election campaign period for the 10th Saeima elections comes into force only 120 days before the elections. Corruption Prevention Bureau (CPB) spokesman Andris Vitenburgs says that parties are allowed to spend a total of 571,211 lats (816,000 euros) on their election campaigns. In 2006, parties were only allowed to spend 279,631 lats. According to the law, advertisers, television, radio, the printed press and other media are allowed to place election advertisements according to a set price, which is published on the CPB’s home-page. Hidden election campaigning is also illegal. The pre-election campaign period will last until October 2, when the 10th Saeima elections will take place.
Funding cuts for Latvia’s universities in the wake of the economic crisis have been the heaviest in Europe, according to a study by the European University Association (EUA), reports LETA. The Latvian government, in line with recommendations from the IMF and the World Bank, reduced the financing for Latvia’s universities and colleges by 48 percent in 2009, and by another 18 percent at the beginning of 2010. These funding cuts have put pressure on the higher education system, and triggered sweeping structural reforms that are to be implemented in the coming years, the EUA says. Public spending for Estonian universities and colleges was slashed 7 percent in 2009 and 10 percent this year. Respective reductions in Ireland were 5.4 percent and 9.4 percent. The Romanian government has reduced funding for universities and colleges by 10 percent. So did Italy - albeit over a period of three years. Lithuania is to reduce the funding by 8 percent and Great Britain by 6.6 percent from 2010 to 2013.