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Saeima spends 14 hours debating on legislative drafts for next year’s budget

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budget 2020, Saeima, debates On the first day of Saeima’s debates about the state budget for 2020 and accompanying legislative drafts deputies spent 14 hours discussing a small number of drafts. In the end, the decision was made to take a break and return to decision-making on Thursday, 14 November.

Mārtiņš Bondars, chairman of Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee, allowed that budget talks may take two more days. He admits this could be one of the longest budget-approval meetings in Saeima’s history.

Saeima’s meeting of Wednesday, 13 November, lasted 14 hours (including breaks).

In this time deputies managed to review ten out of 28 legislative drafts included in the package.

On Thursday, deputies will have to decide on controversial amendments to the Education Law, which provide a duty for municipalities to participate in the financing of free lunches for school children. There are also amendments to the Political Organizations Financing Law, which provide for considerable increase of state funding for parties.

After reviewing all accompanying legislative drafts, the Saeima will have to decide on the budget for 2020, as well as medium-term budget for 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Heated debates were caused by amendments to laws associated with social protection of different groups of residents. So far the Saeima has not supported a single proposal submitted by the opposition.

Opposition deputies actively used the right to climb onto the tribune and criticize the coalition’s proposed amendments. Members of the coalition, on the other hand did not address their colleagues as much.

In the second half of the day deputies started deciding on possible break times, unable to reach an agreement on this matter. Opposition deputies tried declaring a break until morning multiple times. However, coalition deputies did not support any requests, stressing that too few budget proposals were discussed in such a long time.

Having argued over break time, the majority of the Saeima supported limiting the time for debates.

A break was announced at 23:20 p.m., with the Saeima finally agreeing with opposition deputies’ request.

As it is known, Latvia’s consolidated budget revenue is planned at EUR 9.89 billion in the budget for 2020, whereas expenditures are planned at EUR 10 billion. When compared to the budget of 2019, revenue is set to increase by EUR 717.1 million and expenditures – by EUR 610.1 million.


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