Latvija in brief - 2013-03-07

  • 2013-03-06

The overall public sentiment continued to improve at the beginning of 2013: residents’ opinions about most national and economic development indicators improved, as well as about the financial situation of their families, reports Opinions about job opportunities in Latvia and the government’s performance salso improved, according to the latest DNB Latvia Barometer study. During the public opinion survey, residents were also asked which officials deserved to be commended for their work. Twenty-one percent named Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony Center), 9 percent said it was Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) and 8 percent named former Auditor General Inguna Sudraba. Opinions differ greatly depending on ethnicity. Forty-one percent of Russian-speakers said they would commend Usakovs, while only 7 percent of Latvian respondents favored Usakovs. Twelve percent of Latvian respondents said they would commend Dombrovskis on his work, while among Russian-speakers this was only 1 percent.

Tickets to this summer’s XXV Latvian Song and Dance Festival will be priced from 1 lats (1.4 euros) to 30 lats, according to the festival’s organizers, reports LETA. The festival will also feature many free concerts and events. Tickets to the festival’s closing concert at the Mezaparks Open-Air Stage will range in price from 3 – 30 lats, while tickets to the grand dance performance at the Daugava Stadium will cost from 3 – 25 lats. The XXV Latvian Song and Dance Festival will take place from June 30 to July 7. There will be a total of 51 concerts and events planned during the Song and Dance Festival. Tickets to the festival are planned to go on sale sometime in March.

Sixty-nine percent of Latvian residents are confident that with June’s local government elections approaching, there will be an increase in cases of local government officials attempting to use administrative resources to achieve personal goals, according to a survey carried out by the market, social and media research company TNS Latvia and the LNT television channel, reports LETA. Twenty-nine percent of residents surveyed are “certain” that there will be an increase of such cases, while 39 percent are “mostly certain.” At the same time, 16 percent of those surveyed believe that there are local government officials that use administrative resources all the time, and not just ahead of elections. Eight percent of those surveyed did not have an opinion. The survey was carried out from Feb. 12 to 14; in total, 700 residents aged 18 to 55 were interviewed.

The Cabinet of Ministers on March 5 accepted the Foreign Ministry’s report on cooperation with the Latvian diaspora for 2013-2015, reports LETA. The ministry has identified four main objectives: preservation of Latvian identity and the diaspora’s ties with Latvia, fostering the political and civic inclusion of Latvian residents living abroad, cooperation with Latvian communities abroad in the economy, culture, education and science, and fostering the return of Latvian emigrants. Latvian embassies abroad are to become the social activity centers for Latvian communities abroad.