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10 questions to: Latvian Regional Alliance

This time it's 10 questions to the Latvian Regional Alliance (LRA) party ahead of the 13th Saeima election.

1. Do you plan to reduce public administration?

The Latvian Regional Alliance stands for lean administration and reducing bureaucracy. State institutions should undergo a functional audit, based on which decisions over financing and reducing the number of officials should be taken. There should be decisions over the possibility of entrusting some functions to the private and NGO sector. A centralization of similar functions across state administration is necessary, as well as moving processes to the e-environment. State support functions should be taken to regions. We will also carry out the goals and measures of the "2020 State administration reform plan".

2. What are the three ministries that you would most like to lead?

The Environment Ministry, the Ministry of Economics, and the Ministry of Agriculture. 

3. How should the work of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) be changed?

A year ago KNAB got a new chief, Jēkabs Straume. Therefore it's only now becoming possible to see how KNAB has improved. Currently the budget of KNAB is at about €5 million. In comparison to Lithuania (€15 million), the KNAB funding is significantly lower. LRA will suggest a funding increase for the KNAB so that the best specialists would be attracted in terms of uncovering corruption, raising investigative standards, as well as fighting corruption in Latvia's regions.

4. Should Latvia remain within the European Union and NATO?

Yes, because Latvia's participation in NATO and th EU is the guarantee of the security, freedom and welfare of our state. The basis of our security is the collective defense agreement in NATO. Our chances to develop the Latvian economy and raise the standard of living lie in the chances provided to us by participating in a united and strong EU.

5. Should gambling business be limited in Latvia?

LRA wants to limit gambling. In the future, gambling should be allowed only in high-level hotels. There should be strict control so that minors and people addicted to gambling would not make it into gambling houses. People addicted to gambling should be allowed to enlist themselves to be barred entry into gambling houses, and this system should be strictly controlled.

The prevalence of gambling on the internet should be fought as well.

6. Name three economic measures that could substantially increase budget revenues.

• The basis of the Latvian economy should center on creating export-capable manufacture companies; attracting new investments and outsourcing companies to Latvia (call centers, bookkeeping companies, etc.)

• Funding should be substantially increased for the Altum finance instrument to ensure that businesses have many different finance instruments. 

• Reducing electricity costs by lifting the mandatory purchase component and reducing tariffs. 

7. Should defense expenses be increased to 2.5% of GDP within the next few years?

Defense expenses should be increased in the medium term if required by the security situation in our region. Latvia can ensure its freedom and independence only within the boundaries of an effective, collective defense system, being a member of NATO and a united EU. Latvia should encourage other NATO countries to ensure they spend at least 2% of GDP on defense. Latvia should strengthen its professional army and National Guard and continue improving its defense capabilities. 

8. Which political forces do you consider as potential allies, and which would you refuse to work with?

LRA will create a government based on national Latvian interests. We won't create a government with Harmony or the Latvian Union of Russians. The decision will be influenced by other Saeima MPs elected from other parties and by their stance in matters important to LRA. 

9. Is another President of Latvia be needed for the next term? What should be the criteria for choosing him/her?

After eight months the Saeima will elect a president of the Latvian centenary. We want the next Latvian president to be elected in an open parliamentary vote and who enjoys the trust of the society. That's why this spring the LRA party submitted amendments in different laws that stipulate that: 1) presidential candidates should have a mandate of trust - namely 50,000 signatures; 2) the president is elected in an open parliamentary vote. These amendments were not adopted. LRA pushed amendments to the Constitution, stipulating and open presidential vote. These gained support in the Saeima, but their further adoption was delayed in the Saeima. Adopting these amendments during the 12th Saeima is a priority for the LRA and a matter of honor and self-respect for the entire 12th Saeima.

The next president should enjoy public trust, demonstrate an ability to debate and be able to inspire and unite the public, representing Latvia abroad and be able to keep important questions for the Latvian state high in the agenda of the public. 

10. Do you support the Cohabitation Act, which would also provide a basis for legal relations for same-sex couples?

We do not support it. 

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