Kazāks is front runner to become next Latvian central bank governor

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Economist Mārtiņš Kazāks emerged as the front runner in the race to become the next governor of the Latvian central bank (LB) according to LTV.

Although the parties in the ruling government coalition did not reach a formal decision during talks on the matter on December 2 on Monday, and talks are scheduled to continue December 3, unofficial information obtained by LTV suggests that indicates that Kazāks is likely to secure the ultimate backing of the coalition.

The appointment of a new governor will still be subject to a vote in Saeima, and that too is subject to a nominee being put forward by at least ten of the 100 Saeima members. While it is possible for more than one candidate to be put forward, any candidate securing the backing of the government's working majority in parliament should be certain of securing the top job at the central bank and an accompanying place on the governing council of the European Central Bank, thanks to Latvia's membership of the Eurozone.

As reported by LSM last week, four candidates were considered to be in the running, with the field narrowed to two over recnt days with Kazāks and Uldis Cērps believed to be pulling ahead of the other two.

However, it should be stressed that LTV's sources were described as "unofficial" and given the highly sensitive nature of the job on offer, it is not inconceivable that there are to be more twists and turns in the appointment process.

Kazāks has worked for Swedbank and the Ministry of Finance. He has also worked as a lecturer at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and elsewhere and is a former member of the President's Strategic Analysis Commission, and a member of the Fiscal Discipline Council.

He holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Latvia in 1995 and graduated in economics from the University of Cambridge in 1996. He received a Master's degree in economics from the University of London in 1997 and a doctorate in economics in 2005.

The mandate of the current governor, Ilmārs Rimšēvičs, comes to an end on December 21.


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