conventional long form: Republic of Latvia

conventional short form: Latvia

local long form: Latvijas Republika

local short form: Latvija

former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic (while occupied by the USSR)

etymology: the name "Latvia" originates from the ancient Latgalians, one of four eastern Baltic tribes that formed the ethnic core of the Latvian people (ca. 8th-12th centuries A.D.)

Government type
parliamentary republic

Capital
name: Riga

geographic coordinates: 56 57 N, 24 06 E

time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: of the several theories explaining the name's origin, the one relating to the city's role in Baltic and North Sea commerce is the most probable; the name is likely related to the Latvian word "rija," meaning "warehouse," where the 'j' became a 'g' under the heavy German influence in the city from the late Middle Ages to the early 20th century

Administrative divisions
36 municipalities (novadi, singular - novads) and 7 state cities (valstpilsetu pasvaldibas, singular valstspilsetas pasvaldiba)

municipalities: Adazi, Aizkraukle, Aluksne, Augsdaugava, Balvi, Bauska, Cesis, Dienvidkurzeme, Dobele, Gulbene, Jekabpils, Jelgava, Kekava, Kraslava, Kuldiga, Limbazi, Livani, Ludza, Madona, Marupe, Ogre, Olaine, Preili, Rezekne, Ropazi, Salaspils, Saldus, Saulkrasti, Sigulda, Smiltene, Talsi, Tukums, Valka, Valmiera, Varaklani, Ventspils

cities: Daugavpils, Jelgava, Jurmala, Liepaja, Rezekne, Riga, Ventspils

Independence
18 November 1918 (from Soviet Russia); 4 May 1990 (declared from the Soviet Union); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)

National holiday
Independence Day (Republic of Latvia Proclamation Day), 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 was the date Latvia established its statehood and its concomitant independence from Soviet Russia; 4 May 1990 was the date it declared the restoration of Latvian statehood and its concomitant independence from the Soviet Union

Constitution
history: several previous (pre-1991 independence); note - following the restoration of independence in 1991, parts of the 1922 constitution were reintroduced 4 May 1990 and fully reintroduced 6 July 1993

amendments: proposed by two thirds of Parliament members or by petition of one tenth of qualified voters submitted through the president; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of Parliament in each of three readings; amendment of constitutional articles, including national sovereignty, language, the parliamentary electoral system, and constitutional amendment procedures, requires passage in a referendum by majority vote of at least one half of the electorate; amended several times, last in 2019

Legal system
civil law system with traces of socialist legal traditions and practices

International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship
citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Latvia

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
chief of state: President Egils LEVITS (since 8 July 2019)

head of government: Prime Minister Krisjanis KARINS (since 23 January 2019)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers nominated by the prime minister, appointed by Parliament

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by Parliament for a 4-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 29 May 2019 (next to be held in 2023); prime minister appointed by the president, confirmed by Parliament

election results: Egils LEVITS elected president; Parliament vote - Egils LEVITS 61 votes, Didzis SMITS 24, Juris JANSONS 8; Krisjanis KARINS confirmed prime minister 61-39

Legislative branch
description: unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by party-list proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 6 October 2018 (next to be held in October 2022)

election results: percent of vote by party - S 19.8%, KPV LV 14.3%, JKP 13.6%, AP! 12%, NA 11%, ZZS 9.9%, JV 6.7%, other 12.7%; seats by party - S 23, KPV LV 16, JKP 16, AP! 13, NA 13, ZZS 11, JV 8; composition as of April 2022 - men 73, women 27, percent of women 27%

Judicial branch
highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the Senate with 36 judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 7 judges)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by chief justice and confirmed by the Saeima; judges serve until age 70, but term can be extended 2 years; Constitutional Court judges - 3 nominated by Saeima members, 2 by Cabinet ministers, and 2 by plenum of Supreme Court; all judges confirmed by Saeima majority vote; Constitutional Court president and vice president serve in their positions for 3 years; all judges serve 10-year terms; mandatory retirement at age 70

subordinate courts: district (city) and regional courts

Political parties and leaders
Development/For! or AP! [Daniels PAVLUTS, Juris PUCE]
National Alliance "All For Latvia!"-"For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK" or NA [Raivis DZINTARS] New Conservative Party or JKP [Janis BORDANS]
Social Democratic Party "Harmony" or S [Janis URBANOVICS]
Union of Greens and Farmers or ZZS [Armands KRAUZE]
New Unity or JV [Arvils ASERADENS]
Who Owns the State? or KPV LV (disbanded 2021)