New government of Latvia: old and new risks for human rights
On February, 12, 2016, the Parliament of Latvia has approved a new cabinet, led by Mr. Māris Kučinskis.
It is estimated, that the far-right, anti-immigration National Alliance now has more influence than in the previous cabinet.
In its declaration, the new cabinet announces its intention to switch
minority schools to Latvian language of instruction only - "It is
necessary to elaborate a plan for transition to a uniform education
standard for learning in the official language in educational institutions
funded by the state and local governments; it is necessary to start its
implementation". Notably, over the last 16 years most minority schools
(those using minority language as a medium of instruction) have already
been closed. There were 346 minority schools in 1998/99 and only 169 in
The new PM also announced that, unlike the previous head of government Ms.
Laimdota Straujuma, he will allow the ministers to take part in the annual
events in Riga dedicated to the veterans of Waffen SS Latvian Legion.
In the meantime between the resignation of the previous cabinet (in
December) and the confirmation of a new one, the caretaker government has
slashed benefits for refugees from 256 to 139 EUR a month.
Sources of information for further reading:
Media report on slashing the refugee benefits (EN) -
Cabinet declaration (EN) -
A media report on the new cabinet (EN) -
Mr Kučinskis on the participation of ministers in annual events of March
the 16th (LV) - http://www.la.lv/kucinskis-es-neaicinasu-16-marta-iet-pie-brivibas-pieminekla/
Annual statistics on the number of schools by medium of instruction (LV) -
see "pa plusmam" -