Latvia votes in new government headed by first ever female PM

  • 2014-01-22
  • From wire reports, RIGA

Former PM Valdis Dombrovskis embraces new PM Laimdota Straujuma (photo

Latvia has voted in its new government headed by its first ever female Prime Minister after Laimdota Straujuma.

A total of 64 Saeima members supported Straujuma's new government, 27 voted against, whilst four abstained.

The opposition's Harmony Center voted against the new government, whilst two independent MPs Vladimirs Reskajs and Inga Vanaga abstained. Two coalition MPs Valdis Liepins (Reform Party) and Juris Vilums (Reform Party) did not participate in today's vote, as well as two other independent MPs - Inga Bite and Davis Stalts.

The new government is made up of the current coalition parties - Unity, Reform Party, All For Latvia-For Fatherland And Freedom/LNNK (VL-TB/LNNK) and six independent MPs - plus the Union of Greens and Farmers, formerly an opposition party.

Besides Prime Minister Straujuma, Unity is represented in the new government by Health Minister Ingrida Circene, Education and Science Minister Ina Druviete, Finance Minister Andris Vilks. Unity and the independent MPs also share responsibility for the Transport Ministry, which is headed by non-partisan Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss.

VL-TB/LNNK is represented by Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Einars Cilinskis, Justice Minister Baiba Broka and Culture Minister Dace Melbarde.

Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs, Welfare Minister Uldis Augulis and Defense Minister Raimonds Vejonis represent the Greens/Farmers Union in the government.

The Reform Party's representatives in the new government are Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis, Economy Minister Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis.

Outgoing Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) announced his resignation on November 27 last year, taking political responsibility for the Zolitude tragedy where 54 people died as the roof of a "Maxima" supermarket collapsed.

This past August, Dombrovskis marked 1,633 days in office, becoming Latvia's longest-serving serving premier since the restoration of independence and the longest-serving democratically elected PM in Latvia's history.