The Latvian Lat (LVL) is the official currency of Latvia. The Lat was first introduced in 1922 when it replaced the Latvian ruble; however when Latvia became a part of the USSR in 1940, the USSR ruble replaced the Lat. A reversion to the Lat as the official currency took place in 1993, when Latvia regained its independence. It has been recently speculated that Latvia will adopt the Euro sometime around the year 2008.
Baa3, 23 Apr 2009
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What does it look like?
Latvia is a parliamentary government with consisting of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The president, prime minister, and the cabinet form the executive branch of the government. The legislative branch consists of a unicameral parliament with 100 seats and members elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms. The judicial branch is a supreme court with judges appointed by the parliament.
Chief of State President Valdis ZATLERS (since 8 July 2007)
Head of Government Prime Minister Valdis DOMBROVSKIS (since 12 March 2009)
Cabinet Cabinet of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and appointed by Parliament
Elections president elected by Parliament for a four-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 31 May 2007 (next to be held in 2011); prime minister appointed by the president, confirmed by Parliament
Election Results Valdis ZATLERS elected president; parliamentary vote - Valdis ZATLERS 58, Aivars ENDZINS 39
Key Economic Factors
Latvia's transitional economy recovered from the 1998 Russian financial crisis in large part due to the government's strictness with budgeting, and a reorientation of exports toward EU countries (which in turn lessened Latvia's trade dependency on Russia). The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized, although the state still holds sizable stakes in a few large enterprises. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in February 1999, and among its top foreign policy goals is preparing for EU membership. The current account and internal government deficits continue to prove major economic concerns, but efforts to increase efficiency in revenue collection may diminish the budget deficit.
Buses, vans, street and railroad cars, synthetic fibers, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, washing machines, radios, electronics, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, and textiles.
Grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables, beef, pork, milk, eggs and fish.
Machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels and vehicles.
Wood (products), machinery, equipment, metals, textiles, and foodstuffs.