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President calls for freezing wages of high-ranking officials

The President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis has called for freezing the wages for MPs and other high-ranking officials and not raising them next year, the president told Latvian Television's Rīta Panorāma on Thursday.

No new legislation for raising the wages in the state sector has been enacted – the wages are to be raised according to the 2016 budget plan and already existing regulations, said Vējonis.

At the same, the president stressed that due to the delay in enacting the reform of teachers' wages, along with reforms in healthcare and interior, it would be wrong to raise wages in state sector.

"It is a political decision. We need to make a choice – to raise [wages] according to the law or to freeze them and thus act in solidarity with those members of the society whose wages won't be raised. At the moment they should be frozen, but it's more important to look to the reforms, which are lagging behind," said Vējonis.

The president clarified that, of course, they shouldn't freeze them all the time, as they should think about the competitiveness of the state sector. 

Ināra Mūrniece (National Alliance), the Speaker of the Saeima, had previously voiced a similar opinion.

"It is a matter of conscious and morality, whether we can raise [the wages of MPs] in the current situation. My conscious doesn't allow it," Mūrniece told Latvian Television on Wednesday.

According to her, the coefficients (politicians' wages are tied to the average wage in Latvia with a coefficient) for politicians' and officials' wages should be frozen as well, but the wages of the Prime Minister and perhaps other ministers should perhaps be raised, she said. 

The monthly wage rises for MPs projected for 2016 are €157, for parliamentary secretaries - €139, for ministers - €179, for the Prime Minister - for €198. Wage rises are to be handed to other state officials as well.

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