Latvija in brief - 2010-07-01

  • 2010-06-30

In the holiday period from June 22 to June 28, the police stopped a total of 35,733 drivers nationwide, of whom 343 were driving under the influence of alcohol, according to information provided by the police, reports LETA. In the Riga region, 13,171 drivers were stopped, of whom 122 were driving under the influence. Although it is not shown in the official police statistics, eight drivers were also caught driving under the influence of narcotics. A string of infringements of road regulations by pedestrians were also punished over the holiday period, involving a total of 478 people. A total of 206 road accidents were registered nationwide, 11 of which were caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol. Two people were killed, and 51 sustained injuries

According to the rating compiled by the U.S. Fund for Peace and the U.S. journal Foreign Policy, Latvia ranks 136th among 177 countries in the Failed States Index, reports LETA. Compared to last year, the situation in Latvia has become more difficult, and therefore has climbed higher in the index. The situation in Lithuania and Estonia has improved and they rank 146th and 140th, respectively. There were 177 countries assessed on the basis of different social, economic and political indicators such as the existence of refugees, major economic decline and crime levels. The most failed states are, according to the rating, Somalia, Chad, Sudan and Zimbabwe while Norway, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and Ireland were assessed to be the most stable.

The Saeima Legal Affairs Committee gave its support on June 28 for the appointment of Eriks Kalnmeiers as the new prosecutor general, reports LETA. In a secret ballot, seven MPs voted for his appointment, while three were opposed or abstained. Chief Prosecutor Kalnmeiers, of the Pending Criminal Cases Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office, was forwarded by Supreme Court Chief Justice Ivars Bickovics as candidate for the post, replacing Janis Maizitis. New Era party leader Solvita Aboltina says she doubts the nominee’s neutrality. She claims certain parties have made a prior agreement on a “comfortable” person in the high office. “This all is being staged…” Aboltina believes, pointing to a possible agreement between the People’s Party and the Greens/Farmers Union that has the former supporting Kalnmeiers in exchange for the latter’s handing in last-minute legislative amendments that permits to-be privatized property to be bought up at current cadastral value, a move that would be beneficial for Andris Skele, the People’s Party leader. Two Greens/Farmers MPs on June 15 handed in amendments to the law On Privatization of State and Municipal Property, whereby land can be bought not for its set August 2007 cadastral value, but at the current market price, which is much lower.