Latvija in brief - 2011-08-11

  • 2011-08-10

President Andris Berzins believes that Latvia must remain a parliamentary republic, however, the president should be elected by the people, he says, reports LETA. Berzins expressed this point of view on Aug. 5 during an interview on Latvian Radio 4. The president explained that his experience shows that a president elected by the people would have an easier time of getting to work after elected. Speaking about Latvia within the European Union, the president pointed out that Latvia, with a population of two million, is small when compared to the 500 million population of the EU.  However, Berzins said that Latvia’s achievements within the EU depend on only the people living in Latvia, because no one else will do things for us.

On Sept. 15, the day the Baltic Pearl international film festival opens, movie theater ‘Riga’ will change its name to the historic ‘Splendid Palace,’ says Rigas nami spokeswoman Tereza Luksa, reports LETA. Festival organizers say that the theater ‘Riga’ will continue operations as usual, said Luksa. According to Luksa, the name of the movie theater, originally called ‘Splendid Palace,’ was changed to ‘Riga’ during Soviet rule, but now a decision has been made to return the movie theater its historic name. The ‘Splendid Palace’ movie theater at 61 Elizabetes Street was opened on Dec. 30, 1923. It was the first movie theater in the Baltic countries to screen sound films. The movie theater’s building is an architectural monument of national importance though it is hidden from street view by a monstrosity of a building that is now the location of a Klondaika entertainment center. The building was restored in 2007 and 2008.

Among all government members, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) has received the highest evaluation from Latvian residents, reports LETA. According to a study carried out by the market, social and media research company TNS Latvia and the LNT television channel, residents are mostly dissatisfied with the current Cabinet’s performance. The government’s average assessment is 3.1 points out of 10. Dombrovskis received the highest evaluation - 4.5 points. Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Raimonds Vejonis’ (Union of Greens and Farmers) assessment was 4.4 points. Agricultural Minister Janis Duklavs (Union of Greens and Farmers) and Defense Minister Artis Pabriks (Unity) got 4.1 points each. Welfare Minister Ilona Jursevska (Union of Greens and Farmers), Transport Minister Uldis Augulis (Union of Greens and Farmers), Finance Minister Andris Vilks (Unity), and Minister of Justice and acting Interior Minister Aigars Stokenbergs (Unity) were assessed with 3.7 points each. Culture Minister Sarmite Elerte (Unity) and Health Minister Juris Barzdins (Union of Greens and Farmers) were assessed with 3.6 points each, whilst Education and Science Minister Rolands Broks (Union of Greens and Farmers) received 3.5 points, Foreign Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis (Unity) - 3.2 points, and Economy Minister Artis Kampars - 3.1 points. The survey was carried out from August 2 to August 4; altogether, 850 economically-active residents aged 18 to 55 were interviewed.