Laws In Latvia, the fundamental law of the highest legal power is the constitution. We call it Satversme. The legislations are compulsory for the inhabitants, that are issued by the Parliament and the Cabinet of the Ministers as well as the municipalities. The Parliament issues the laws, but the Cabinet of the Ministers – the Regulations, that are of lower legal power and more particularly explain what is stated in the law. The municipality issue the compulsory requirements of even lower legal power. Since 2004, Latvia is European Union member state, therefore one must observe also the regulations of the European Union. Parliament The Parliament of Republic of Latvia is called “Saeima”. There are hundred parliamentarians elected to Saeima from political parties. There are not yet stable political parties established in Latvia. Only some of the parties manage to keep high trust of electors more than 10 years. Usually 5-7 parliamentarians are elected into Saeima from the parties that do not give the potential to one party to form the government. Thus there exist a great political instability and frequent change of the governments. The electors give their votes to the leaders of the parties and not for the programmes of the parties. Unlike other European countries the social democratic – left alignment – parties are weak. Rightists or the politicians of parties oriented of the centre of the way have governed within the last twenty years. Like in other countries, also in Latvia, the politics is quite closely connected to the politics. Businessmen and not the state provide funding for the parties. Parliamentarians are elected by Latvia citizens every four years. Only those parties enter Saeima who have received at least 5% of the votes. In Latvia, The President of the State is elected by Saeima and not by the population. The nominee of Prime Minister is chosen by the president of the State, but the government is assert by Saeima. Saeima elects also the other State functionaries , for example, Attorney General, president of the Bank of Latvia, the judges. Saeima sittings and the answers to the questions of the parliamentarians are live broadcasted by Latvia Radio, and they can be also watched at Saeima home page – www.saeima.lv Cabinet of Ministers The highest executive power of the State is The Cabinet of Ministers, that is administered by prime minister. Officially the head of the government is the third highest State functionary after president of the State and the chairman of Saeima. Anyway in the meaning of the political influence this is the most important position in the State. The ministers in the government act in different fields – economics, finance, health, education, etc. Prime ministers change frequently in Latvia, only few of them manage to work more than 2 years. President of Latvia The highest functionary of our state is the president. The last two presidents of Latvia do not come from the environment of the political parties. Most probably that is why they are more popular in the society than the representatives of the government and the parliament. The representation of the state is delegated to the president, but quite rarely he engages into the politics of the state. From 1999 until 2007, the president of the State of Latvia Republic was the professor of the psychology Vaira Vike-Freiberga. Saeima elected the doctor Valdis Zatlers as the president of the State in 2007. In 2011 there will be the next elections of the president. Judiciary system In Latvia, like in other democratic countries, there are the judiciary system of 3 levels. Of some of the parties is dissatisfied with the primary verdict, then they have the rights to judicial review at the next instance. Courts are divided into 3 kinds, depending on the cases of adjudication – civil court, criminal court and administrative court. Civil courts mostly hear different property disputes, Criminal courts hear criminal offenses and crimes, but administrative courts hear the cases regarding the legitimacy of the decisions of different governmental authorities. There exist also the Constitutional court in Latvia. Its area of responsibility is to judge if the issued laws correspond to the fundamental law of Latvia. In order to defend human rights in Latvia, the Bureau of Law is established,the task of which is to help people in the cases of different disturbances. If somebody happened to receive non-qualitative goods or services, then he can seek for the justice at the protection bureau of consumer rights. See – www.ptac.gov.lv Useful to know: Regarding Matrimony In Latvia, the person at one and the same time can be married for 1 person of the opposite sex. The announcing is fulfilled, by putting out the announcement at registry office 1 month after announcement. Besides both the persons must be at least 18 years old. The marriage can be allied at registry offices as well as at some of denomination churches to which one of the spouse belongs to. Work in Latvia Any foreigner who has received the term residence permit and who wishes to work , the work permission is necessary. Work permissions as well as term residence permits are issued in Latvia by Citizenship and Immigration affair administration www.pmlp.gov.lv Would you take into account that to work without work permission is the base for not issuing residence permit or to annul the issued permit. Education The kindergarten is provided by that municipality where you live. There are not enough places at kindergartens in Latvia, therefore the child must be notified in the queue as soon as possible – already after birth of the child. Basic education of the grades 1 to 9 is compulsory and it is free of charge for the child with residence permit. The secondary education is not compulsory. There are schools in Latvia where it is possible to study in two languages – in Latvian language and in some minority language. There are Russian, Lithuanian, Estonian, Ukrainian, Hebrew and Polish schools. You can find the information regarding the kindergartens and the schools at your municipality. Assistance in the children care The state assist young mothers very much. It is possible to receive the children allowance for 12 months after the birth of the child. The amount of the allowance depends on the salary drawn early. The mothers that previously drew the salary of at least 450 , the amount of the allowance is equal to the salary. For the work with the families, there is a social worker in each municipality or municipal social service. If you face some difficulties at your family, you can free of charge have the recourse or help. If the conflict situation has occurred between the parents of the child regarding the matters of the child, then you must address orphans court of your municipality. It is also possible to use the free of charge telephone hotline of children and youth 80009000. or – www.bernutalrunis.lv Health care If you have term residence permit then most probably you have also heals insurance policy and you will be able to receive free of charge or at least partially covered health care. If your sickness is not urgent , but you need to undergo cure at the hospital then it is recommendable at first to address the family doctor, who will prepare the posting to the specialist or the posting to the examination at the hospital. Thus you can save a remarkable amount of money. If you need the medical cure very urgently than call 112 or 113. 112 is general lifesaving service telephone number, that can be used in order to call for help at different critical cases.