Latvian Saeima passes 2020 budget

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After two long days of parliamentary debate, the Latvian Saeima finally approved the state budget for 2020 late on November 14.

Having started at 9 a.m. on November 13, the decisive vote was delivered at just before 8 p.m. on November 14 with 57 deputies backing the spending plans and none opposed after opposition deputies chose to boycott the vote.

As the LTV video below shows, opposition deputies were not even in the chamber when the decisive vote took place, having left to express their displeasure when the amount of time deputies had to debate a new model of party financing was cut to just 1 minute per speaker. 

Summing up the debate, Finance Minister Jānis Reirs offered thanks to all those who had helped compile it.

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš said: "Adopting a state budget is never easy. We started this process in August," and maintained that the government had kept its promise not to raise taxes.

"I know very well that many of those in this room and outside feel it could have been better," he said, but explained the intention had been to balance the various claims of different parts of society.

"This is just one step. Many more steps remain in front of us," the Prime Minister said before also offering thanks in all directions.

Following the vote, Kariņš vowed to continue working for a Nordic-style welfare system but warned that it was "not the work of a single day."

As previously reported by LSM, the budget plans included next year's final state budget bill, the medium-term budget framework for 2020, 2021 and 2022, and 26 state budget-related bills.

The budget plan has revenues expected to be 9.9 billion euros and expenditures of 10 billion euros. The general government budget deficit for 2020 is projected to be 0.3% of gross domestic product (GDP).

In passing the budget, the government managed to meet the Indepdendence Day deadline given to them by President Egils Levits.


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