Government approved to start work

A new government took power in Latvia Wednesday after the Saeima approved the composition of a new cabinet under Laimdota Straujuma in a parliamentary vote.

The government's proposed action plan for the next four years was passed by 61 votes to 39 after a lengthy debate of its merits by the parliament which itself only came into force on Tuesday.

Straujuma originally came to power in January 2014 after her predecessor Valdis Dombrovskis – now a Vice President of the European Commission - stepped down.

She heads a coalition commanding a solid 61-seats in the 100-seat unicameral chamber.

Straujuma vowed in her address to parliament to concentrate on three main areas: national security, family welfare and economic growth.

“I don't mean pedal to the metal growth, I mean smart growth,” she told MPs.

On security she stressed the need for Latvia to break its energy dependence on Russia, without mentioning it by name.

"Security is also energy indepedence... these years are the time to increase our energy security," she said.

Straujuma's coalition comprises her own centre-right Unity party, the populist Greens and Farmers' Union (ZZS) and the right wing nationalist National Alliance.

Despite winning more seats in the election than any other party in elections, the pro-Russian social democrat Harmony party will be condemned to opposition along with two newcomers – the Regional Alliance and Latvia From The Heart, with representatives of all three opposition parties criticising the government declaration as vaguely worded and lacking in costings and timings.

The full list of cabinet portfolios is as follows:
Raimonds Vējonis, Minister for Defence
Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Rihards Kozlovskis, Minister for the Interior
Dace Melbārde, Minister for Culture
Uldis Augulis, Minister for Welfare
Anrijs Matīss, Minister for Transport and Communication
Jānis Dūklavs, Minister for Agriculture
Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Minister of Economy
Jānis Reirs, Minister for Finance
Mārīte Seile, Minister for Education and Science
Dzintars Rasnačs, Minister of Justice
Guntis Belēvičs, Minister of Health
Kaspars Gerhards, Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development. 


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