The 42nd cabinet in Latvia's history as an independent republic was largely ceremonial, and was attended by President Edgars Rinkēvičs – who until May this year was sitting in the Foreign Minister's seat. That seat was today occupied by his former Prime Minister, Krišjānis Kariņš, whose former seat in turn is now occupied by Prime Minister Evika Siliņa.
Addressing ministers at the start of the meeting, Rinkēvičs congratulated them on their new roles and wished them well, while also thanking the previous government for its work.
"Society currently expects all of us – from the President, from the Saeima and the Cabinet of Ministers – to work for the good of the country. Less arguing, more decisions. [Society is] waiting for quick action in solving many urgent issues, in strengthening the internal and external security of our country, in the development of our country's economy. Also in addressing problems important to our people – be they electricity tariffs or loan payments, or health and education," said the President.
"I would like to invite you to listen to the officials, they give you advice, but to overcome the bureaucratic stagnation in which, unfortunately, we have been stuck in recent years. Less process-driven decisions, more results-based decisions oriented to the required end result. This is what our society expects of all of us," Rinkēvičs added.
He also encouraged ministers to get out of the Rīga bubble and meet people around the country. "Often what they say or ask is radically different from the documents and reports you see," he advised.
For her part, Prime Minister Siliņa used the example of Latvia's recent successes in sport to encourage her new team.
"Team... ministers... colleagues... our sportspeople have just shown what teamwork means," she said. "I see you as colleagues, I see you as a team whose purpose is to work for the good of our population, all of us, for the good of the Latvian state."
She expressed hopes that ways could be found for productive dialogue with the President Saeima, civil society, non-governmental organizations and society in general. "We are all part of Latvia, just each with their own task. I think that is each of us does their work with the best intentions then we can achieve a lot."
The full list of ministerial positions is as follows:
- Prime Minister Evika Siliņa (New Unity)
- Defense Minister Andris Sprūds (Progressives)
- Foreign Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity)
- Economics Minister Viktors Valainis (Greens and Farmers Union)
- Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis (New Unity)
- Finance Minister Arvils Ašeradens (New Unity)
- Education and Science Minister Anda Čakša (New Unity)
- Climate and Energy Minister Kaspars Melnis (Greens and Farmers Union)
- Culture Minister Agnese Logina (Progressives)
- Welfare Minister Uldis Augulis (Greens and Farmers Union)
- Transport Minister Kaspars Briškens (Progressives)
- Justice Minister Inese Lībiņa-Egnere (New Unity)
- Health Minister Hosams Abu Meri (New Unity)
- Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Inga Bērziņa (New Unity)
- Agriculture Minister Armands Krauze (Greens and Farmers Union)