My World Atlas   Web

Republic of Latvia

Latvijas Republika

former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic

We rated with ICRA
SafeSurf Rated All Ages



Click Here to view visitor stats

NBC Heroes Fan Forum



Contact Us
Privacy Statement
© 1996-2006
Bob Starkgraf


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Latvia
conventional short form: Latvia
local short form: Latvija
former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
local long form: Latvijas Republika
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
Administrative divisions:
26 counties (singular - rajons) and 7 municipalities*: Aizkraukles Rajons, Aluksnes Rajons, Balvu Rajons, Bauskas Rajons, Cesu Rajons, Daugavpils*, Daugavpils Rajons, Dobeles Rajons, Gulbenes Rajons, Jekabpils Rajons, Jelgava*, Jelgavas Rajons, Jurmala*, Kraslavas Rajons, Kuldigas Rajons, Liepaja*, Liepajas Rajons, Limbazu Rajons, Ludzas Rajons, Madonas Rajons, Ogres Rajons, Preilu Rajons, Rezekne*, Rezeknes Rajons, Riga*, Rigas Rajons, Saldus Rajons, Talsu Rajons, Tukuma Rajons, Valkas Rajons, Valmieras Rajons, Ventspils*, Ventspils Rajons
21 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 is the date of independence from Soviet Russia, 21 August 1991 is the date of independence from the Soviet Union
the 1991 Constitutional Law which supplements the 1922 constitution, provides for basic rights and freedoms
Legal system:
based on civil law system
18 years of age; universal for Latvian citizens
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA (since 8 July 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Einars REPSE (since 7 November 2002)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the Parliament
elections: president elected by Parliament for a four-year term; election last held 17 June 1999 (next to be held by June 2003); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA elected as a compromise candidate in second phase of balloting, second round (after five rounds in first phase failed to produce a clear winner); percent of parliamentary vote - Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA 53%, Valdis BIRKAVS 20%, Ingrida UDRE 9%
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 5 October 2002 (next to be held NA October 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - New Era 23.9%, PCTVL 18.9%, People's Party 16.7%, ZZS 9.5%, First Party 7.6%, LNNK 5.4%; seats by party - New Era 26, PCTVL 24, People's Party 21, ZZS 12, First Party 10, LNNK 7
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges' appointments are confirmed by Parliament)
Political parties and leaders:
Alliance of the Greens and Farmers Union or ZZS [Augusts BRIGMANIS (Farmer's Union); Indulis EMSIS (Green Party)]; CENTER Political Alliance [Juris CELMINS]; First Party of Latvia [Eriks JEKABSONS]; For Fatherland and Freedom or LNNK [Maris GRINBLATS]; For Human Rights in a United Latvia or PCTVL [Janis JURKANS], a coalition of the People's Harmony Party or TSP, the Latvian Socialist Party or LSP, and the Equal Rights Movement; Freedom Party [Ziedonis CEVERS]; Land of Mara [Irena SAPROVSKA]; Latvian Rebirth Party [Andris RUBINS]; Latvian Social-Democratic Workers Party (Social Democrats) or LSDSP [Juris BOJARS]; Latvia's Way Union or LC [Andris BERZINS]; Light of Latgale or LG [Rihards EIGIMS]; New Era Party [Einars REPSE]; Our Land Party [Ilmars ANCANS]; Party of Latvians [Aivars GARDA]; People's Party [Andris SKELE]; Progressive Center Party [Inta STAMGUTE]; Russian Party [Mihails GAVRILOVS]; Social Democratic Union or SDS [Egils BALDZENS]; Social Democratic Welfare Party or SLP [Juris ZURAVLOVS]; United Republican Party of Latvia or LARP [Eriks Andrejs SAULUNS, Janis PUKIS, Sarmite JEGERE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
BIS, CBSS, CCC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Aivis RONIS
FAX: [1] (202) 726-6785
telephone: [1] (202) 726-8213, 8214
chancery: 4325 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Brian E. CARLSON
embassy: 7 Raina Boulevard, Riga LV-1510
mailing address: American Embassy Riga, PSC 78, Box Riga, APO AE 09723
telephone: [371] 703-6200
FAX: [371] 781-4088
Flag description:
three horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon


Economy - overview:
Latvia's transitional economy recovered from the 1998 Russian financial crisis, largely due to the SKELE government's budget stringency and a gradual reorientation of exports toward EU countries, lessening Latvia's trade dependency on Russia. The majority of companies, banks, and real estate have been privatized. Latvia officially joined the World Trade Organization in February 1999. Preparing for EU membership over the next few years continues as a top foreign policy goal. The high current account and internal government deficits remain major concerns.
purchasing power parity - $20 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.5% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $8,300 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 26%
services: 70% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 26% (1998) (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
32 (1999)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
1.1 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 15%, industry 25%, services 60% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
7.6% (2001 est.)
revenues: $2.4 billion
expenditures: $2.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)
buses, vans, street and railroad cars, synthetic fibers, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, washing machines, radios, electronics, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, textiles; note - dependent on imports for energy and raw materials
Industrial production growth rate:
5.7% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production:
3.301 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 33%
hydro: 67%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
5.16 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
500 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
2.59 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish
$2.3 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities:
wood and wood products, machinery and equipment, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners:
Germany 17%, UK 16%, Sweden 10%, Lithuania 8%, Russia 6% (2001 est.)
$3.9 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, vehicles
Imports - partners:
Germany 17%, Russia 9%, Lithuania 8%, Finland 8%, Sweden 7% (2001 est.)
Debt - external:
$3.4 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$96.2 million (1995)
Latvian lat (LVL)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
lati per US dollar - 0.6384 (January 2002), 0.628 (2001), 0.607 (2000), 0.585 (1999), 0.590 (1998), 0.581 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year