RIGA - The Latvian parliament has passed next year's budget with a vote of 54-38.
The controversial budget received harsh criticism from opposition parties. It entails numerous tax hikes and consolidation measures that are aimed at appeasing international lenders and helping pull the country out of the ongoing economic crisis.
Though the budget has now been officially approved, it is widely expected to undergo changes in the first few months of the year. Finance Minister Andris Vilks said health care, education and social areas may face structural reform.