Officially: Latvijas Republika.
English: Latvia.
Seat of government: Rīga.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The parliament (Saeima) is elected through proportional representation, and chooses the prime minister. The president is also chosen by parliament.
Governing parties: Jaunā Konservatīvā Partija; Attīstībai/Par!; Nacionālā Apvienība; Jaunā Vienotība.
Heads of government: Krišjānis Kariņš, JV, prime minister (since 2019); Egils Levits, president (since 2019).
Parliamentary opposition parties: Sociāldemokrātiskā Partija (Saskaņa); Zaļo un Zemnieku Savienība; Par Cilvēcīgu Latviju; Likums un Kārtība.
Assessment: Has the most significant minority issues of the Baltics. A Tautas Partija-led coalition under Aigars Kalvītis (2004-7) came to office midterm, with Jaunais Laiks, Latvijas Pirmā Partija, and ZZS; JL later withdrew. In the 2006 elections, a TP coalition with LPP/Latvijas Ceļš but without JL won a renewed majority. Kalvītis resigned in 2007, replaced by Ivars Godmanis (1990-3, 2007-9), now of LPP/LC. The resignation of Godmanis in 2009 led to a new coalition under Valdis Dombrovskis (2009-14) of JL; in 2010, the TP withdrew from the governing coalition. After elections in 2010, a coalition of Vienotība (into which JL had merged) and ZZS continued in government, with Dombrovskis continuing as prime minister. In 2011, Andris Bērziņš of ZZS became president (2011-5; a different Andris Bērziņš, of LC, had previously been prime minister, 2000-2). In a parliamentary election in 2011, the pro-Россия « Rossija » Saskaņas Centrs won a plurality, but a coalition of the Reformu Partija of Valdis Zatlers (president, 2007-11) with Vienotība and NA was formed to govern under Dombrovskis. Dombrovskis resigned in 2013, replaced by Laimdota Straujuma (2014-6) in early 2014. An election later that year saw Saskaņa win another plurality, but the governing coalition remain largely intact. In 2015, Raimonds Vējonis (2015-9) of the Latvijas Zaļā Partija was elected president. Straujuma resigned over coalition disputes, replaced by Māris Kučinskis (2016-9) of the ZZS, leading the same coalition. The 2018 parliamentary election again ended with a plurality for Saskaņa, followed by the new party Kam Pieder Valsts? and JKP, the last of which ended up leading a new coalition of smaller parties. KPV fractured, leading to the much-smaller PCL. Levits was elected in 2019.
FH: 2-1, free. Econ: 7.23 (46), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2021 June 23.