Latvia

Latvia is situated in the north-east part of Europe on the shore of the Baltic Sea and borders with the two other Baltic states – Estonia and Lithuania as well as Russia and Belarus.

The territory covers 64 589 square kilometres, 45% of which is forests; the length of its border on land is 1 862 km and its sea boarder is 494 km long.

Latvia’s capital city is Rīga, where about one third of the country’s inhabitants reside. The total number of inhabitants is 2 259 400 million. (As of March 2009, data from the Central Statistical Bureau). Approximately 70% are urban and 30% are rural residents.

Latvia has four regions – Kurzeme, Zemgale, Vidzeme and Latgale. There are 109 local governments and 9 republican cities functioning in Latvia.

The three biggest ports are in Ventspils, Rīga and Liepāja.

State language: Latvian language, which belongs to the Baltic languages and stems from the Indo-European language group.

National currency: Lat (Ls / LVL) = 100 santimes.

Ethnic composition:

Titular nations: Latvians (59%) and Livonians (~0,008%);

Other ethnic groups: Russians (28,3%), Belarussians (3,7%), Ukrainians (2,5%), Poles (2,4%), Lithuanians (1,4%), other groups (2,7%)

Economically active inhabitants: 53,18%, unemployment rate – 12,9%. (As of September 2009, data from the Central Statistical Bureau)

Religions: lutheran, roman catholic, orthodox

International country ID: LV

Republic of Latvia is an independent democratic republic, which was proclaimed on 18 November 1918. The Soviet army occupied Latvia on 17 June 1940. On 5 August 1940 Latvia was incorporated in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Latvia regained its independence on 21 August 1991 in the result of so called “singing revolution”.

Legislator is the Saeima (the parliament), which consists of 100 representatives elected for a period of 4 years. The Saeima is elected in general, equal, direct, closed and proportional elections. The right to vote applies to those Latvia’s citizens whose rights have not been limited and who are 18 years old on the day of elections. The 9th Saeima was elected on 7 November 2006.

The head of the state is the State President who is elected by the Saeima for a period of 4 years. Since 8 July 2007 the President of Latvia is Mr.Valdis Zatlers. The Speaker of the Saeima is Mr.Gundars Daudze.

The executive authority belongs to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers. The Cabinet of Ministers is created by a person invited by the State President. The Prime Minister and the ministers get authority for work from the Saeima by a confidence vote. Since 12 March 2009 the Prime Minister is Mr. Valdis Dombrovskis.

Information extracted from http://www.mk.gov.lv

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