«I don’t intend to criticize the previous government too harshly. I also don’t intend to propose any revolutionary changes. The last thing our country needs at the moment is more shocks. Latvia needs clear, accurately planned and easily executable reforms in many of its sectors. We cannot allow words like ‘tension’ or ‘stagnation’ to be used when describing the situation in Latvia. What is paradoxical about this situation is that governments in Latvia have been talking about reforms in education, healthcare, national economy and other sectors for years. However, we have yet to see any realized decisions. This shows that executive power lacks political will or the ability to make brave decisions and resolve topical problems. This resulted in delayed results and unfinished work. We have been delayed in our development as a country. We are stuck in bureaucratic nuisances and the desire to satisfy everyone. Without making important decisions, we only serve to reduce our country’s international competitiveness and contribute to the depopulation of our country, as more and more people leave in hopes of finding a better life in another country. We only watch. And it is our passive behaviour that slowly ruins the foundations of our country,» – said Maris Kucinskis in his speech before the vote.
«Make no mistake – this is not me criticizing the government led by Laimdota Straujuma. Nothing of the kind. The root of the problem lies deeper than that. It happened when parties forming the coalition reached an agreement in regards to the executive power, isolating ministries from one another in the process. This made the government’s joint efforts impossible. The highest point in this feudal model was the call to parties to wake beasts in their represented ministers to fight for budget money. The government is now more like political legionnaires fighting in an arena, not a team that works to accomplish common goals. The government should be a team that will work to benefit all of society, not the interest of groups of political elite or other parties,» – said Kucinskis.
He said his government declaration has five priorities: strengthening of the country’s national economy, state security and national identity, improvement of the country’s demographic situation, reforms in education and science and healthcare.
«These priorities cannot be sorted out in a hierarchical order, from the least important to the most important. No. Success in one area depends on progress in other areas. It will be possible to speak of accomplishments in the national economy only after we are certain about successful reforms in education, demography and healthcare. We need to be certain of our country’s security. Security lies in the foundation of our country’s policy. My government does not set out to fill in minister posts – the goal of our government is to accomplish a more rapid economic growth, realize reforms in education and healthcare. Those are the things that are on the government’s table. They cannot be allowed to be pushed aside in favour of something ‘more important’. Not any more,» – said Kucinskis.
«The declaration signed by all partners of the coalition does not offer to focus on a single sector or interests of a single minister. The declaration states a common goal has to be achieved. This goal must not be any single ministry’s interests. I know this offer is different from the established model of relations among coalition parties. By fighting one another, we only lose our political significance and only serve to feed voters’ nihilism in regards to different parties represented in the government.
Resolution of demographic problems is only possible through the prism of economic development. Benefits play an important role. However, there should be an environment that would make people feel secure and stable in order to be able to plan a family’s future in a long-term perspective. Housing, competitive wage, accessible infrastructure, education, healthcare and security – these are the priorities shared by families in Latvia and the country as a whole,» – said the politician.
«The demographic situation is a ruthless advisor. Latvia cannot possibly afford a 1:3 teacher student proportion. We do not have resources for that. There is only one solution – optimization of the school network. With that, the state and municipalities have to secure children the opportunity to go to a school close to their home and safe transportation to education institutions that are farther away,» – mentioned Kucinskis.
The first meeting of the new government will take place in the Cabinet of Ministers’ Green Hall at 15:00 on 11 February. It will be attended by acting President of Latvia Inara Murniece.
Before the festive meeting, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma will pass on the seat of prime minister to Maris Kucinskis.
The new government of Latvia consists of Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, Economy Minister Arvils Aseradens, Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis, Education and Science Minister Karlis Sadurskis, Culture Minister Dace Melnbarde, Welfare Minister Janis Reirs, Transport Minister Uldis Augulis, Justice Minister Dzintars Rasnacs, Healthcare Minister Guntis Belevics, Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Kaspars Gerhards and Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs.