Prime Minister Straujuma waves goodbye

Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma on Tuesday chaired her final cabinet meeting, bringing the curtain down on two years in charge of a government that many predicted would last just six months when she took on the job.

Following the cabinet meeting a smiling Straujuma was presented with flowers by her former charges and spoke to media saying that while the pressure had at times been intense she had in general enjoyed the experience of heading the executive.

"I wouldn't exactly say I was pleased it's all over, but certainly the responsibility of being premier is very great. Now I can sit on the sidelines and read what you all write!" she joked.

"The highest point was probably the successful European Union Presidency," Straujuma told reporters. "I was really proud of my colleagues and proud to be part of it."

Straujuma said she looked forward to resuming her seat in Saeima and possibly adding her expertise to some Saeima committees.

Among her last acts as premier was overseeing the latest plans to celebrate Latvia's founding centenary in 2018 - the success or failure of which could even determine the fate of her successor. 

The centenary should focus on "allowing the Latvian people to improve their lives, lives free from obstacles, allowing them to develop their talents, set up a business. Each person should have the opportunity to contribute to the common good, to the strengthening of our country," she said.

In another decision that is sure to have lasting consequences, the government approved laws allowing companies to buy gas from overseas suppliers.

On Thursday, Maris Kucinskis is expected to become Latvia's 13th Prime Minister since the restoration of independence in 1991 when Saeima votes to approve his three party coalition - the same three parties as in Straujuma's outgoing coalition.

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