Latvija in brief - 2011-09-22

  • 2011-09-21

eople in Latvia are more displeased with the changes that have taken place in the country over the past twenty years than people in Estonia and Lithuania, Estonian Professor Marju Lauristin said in presenting Estonian People’s Development Reform at the University of Latvia’s Small Hall on Sept. 20, reports LETA. Although it might be said that the crisis hit Latvia harder than the other two Baltic countries, the trend was apparent already before the global economic crisis, explained the professor. The study’s researchers have established a contradiction in the three countries’ social system funding. The system is designed to provide universal aid, which means that it requires significant funding.  Nevertheless, the three countries have little money to spare, therefore the social system should become more target oriented. The study looked into the three countries’ development in the social, educational, health care, linguistic, political, demographical and other areas.

About 62 percent of Latvia’s economically-active population does not support designating Russian as the second official language, according to a survey carried out by the market, social and media research company TNS Latvia and the LNT television channel’s news program ‘900 Seconds,’ reports LETA. The Central Election Commission has received signatures to promote a sign-up for a referendum on Russian as the second official language. Forty-nine percent of residents do not support this initiative, while 13 percent “lean towards” not supporting Russian as the second state language. Thirty-five percent support this initiative. Eleven percent “rather” support it than not, while 24 percent fully support the change of Russian status to an official language. The support was more often expressed by non-residents, Riga and Latgale Region residents, non-citizens, the unemployed and housewives. The study was carried out from September 13 to September 15 via the Internet; altogether, 1,000 economically-active residents ages between 18 to 55 were interviewed.

Five 11th Saeima parties, and Slesers’ Reform Party, which did not manage to clear the necessary five percent threshold to be elected in Saeima, will be eligible to apply for 440,000 lats (628,500 euros) in funding from the state budget, reports LETA. Harmony Center, which gained 28 percent of the votes in the 11th Saeima elections, could receive130,000 lats; Zatlers’ Reform Party - 95,000 lats; Unity - 86,000 lats; All for Latvia!-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK - 63,000 lats; and Union of Greens and Farmers 56,000 lats. Slesers’ Reform Party-LPP/LC cleared the two percent threshold in the emergency Saeima elections and will be eligible to receive 11,000 lats from the state budget. In June 2010, Saeima adopted amendments to the Law on Financing of Political Organizations (Parties). Parties which cleared the two percent threshold during the previous parliamentary elections are eligible to receive state funding. The parties will receive 50 santims for each vote.