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Latvia Facts
• Introduction
• People
• Government
• Communications
• Transportation
• Military
• Transnational Issues

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Introduction Latvia
Background:
After a brief period of independence between the two World Wars, Latvia was annexed by the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US and many other countries. It reestablished its independence in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union. Although the last Russian troops left in 1994, the status of the Russian minority (some 30% of the population) remains of concern to Moscow. Latvia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.
People Latvia
Population:
2,259,810 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.6% (male 157,451/female 150,184)
15-64 years: 69.6% (male 764,910/female 808,848)
65 years and over: 16.7% (male 123,952/female 254,465) (2007 est.)
Median age:
total: 39.6 years
male: 36.6 years
female: 42.7 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.648% (2007 est.)
Birth rate:
9.43 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate:
13.64 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate:
-2.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.048 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.946 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.487 male(s)/female
total population: 0.862 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 9.16 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 11.08 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.6 years
male: 66.39 years
female: 77.1 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.28 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.6% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
7,600 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 500 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Latvian(s)
adjective: Latvian
Ethnic groups:
Latvian 57.7%, Russian 29.6%, Belarusian 4.1%, Ukrainian 2.7%, Polish 2.5%, Lithuanian 1.4%, other 2% (2002)
Religions:
Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
Languages:
Latvian (official) 58.2%, Russian 37.5%, Lithuanian and other 4.3% (2000 census)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2003 est.)
Government Latvia
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Latvia
conventional short form: Latvia
local long form: Latvijas Republika
local short form: Latvija
former: Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type:
parliamentary democracy
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
Administrative divisions:
26 counties (singular - rajons) and 7 municipalities*: Aizkraukles Rajons, Aluksnes Rajons, Balvu Rajons, Bauskas Rajons, Cesu Rajons, Daugavpils*, Daugavpils Rajons, Dobeles Rajons, Gulbenes Rajons, Jekabpils Rajons, Jelgava*, Jelgavas Rajons, Jurmala*, Kraslavas Rajons, Kuldigas Rajons, Liepaja*, Liepajas Rajons, Limbazu Rajons, Ludzas Rajons, Madonas Rajons, Ogres Rajons, Preilu Rajons, Rezekne*, Rezeknes Rajons, Riga*, Rigas Rajons, Saldus Rajons, Talsu Rajons, Tukuma Rajons, Valkas Rajons, Valmieras Rajons, Ventspils*, Ventspils Rajons
Independence:
18 November 1918 (from Soviet Russia)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 was the date Latvia declared itself independent from Soviet Russia; 4 May 1990 is when it declared the renewal of independence; 21 August 1991 was the date of de facto independence from the Soviet Union
Constitution:
15 February 1922; restored to force by the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Latvia adopted by the Supreme Council on 21 August 1991; multiple amendments since
Legal system:
based on civil law system
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal for Latvian citizens
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA (since 8 July 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Aigars KALVITIS (since 2 December 2004)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the Parliament
elections: president reelected by Parliament for a four-year term (no term limits); election last held 20 June 2003 (next to be held by July 2007); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA reelected president; parliamentary vote - Vaira VIKE-FREIBERGA 88 of 94 votes cast
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Saeima (100 seats; members are elected by proportional representation from party lists by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 7 October 2006 (next to be held in October 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - TP 19.5%, ZZS 16.7%, JL 16.4%, SC 14.4%; LPP/LC 8.6%; TB/LNNK 7%; PCTVL 6%; seats by party - TP 23, ZZS 18, JL 18, SC 17, LPP/LC 10, TB/LNNK 8, PCTVL 6
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges' appointments are confirmed by Parliament); Constitutional Court (judges' appointments are confirmed by Parliament)
Political parties and leaders:
First Party of Latvia or LPP [Ainars SLESERS]; For Human Rights in a United Latvia or PCTVL [Jakovs PLINERS]; For the Fatherland and Freedom/Latvian National Independence Movement or TB/LNNK [Roberts ZILE, Maris GRINBLATS]; Harmony Center or SC [Janis URBANOVICS, Nils USAKOVS]; Latvian Farmer's Union or LZS [Augusts BRIGMANIS]; Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party (Social Democrats) or LSDSP [Juris BOJARS]; Latvian Socialist Party or LSP [Alfreds RUBIKS]; Latvia's Way or LC [Ivars GODMANIS, Ainars BERZINS]; New Democrats or JD [Maris GULBIS]; New Era Party or JL [Einars REPSE, Krisjanis KARINS]; People's Party or TP [Aigars KALVITIS]; The Union of Latvian Greens and Farmers Party or ZZS [Indulis EMSIS]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Headquarters for the Protection of Russian Schools (SHTAB) [Aleksandr KAZAKOV]
International organization participation:
Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Maris SELGA
chancery: 2306 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-2840
FAX: [1] (202) 328-2860
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Catherine Todd BAILEY
embassy: 7 Raina Boulevard, Riga LV-1510
mailing address: American Embassy Riga, PSC 78, Box Riga, APO AE 09723
telephone: [371] 703-6200
FAX: [371] 782-0047
Flag description:
three horizontal bands of maroon (top), white (half-width), and maroon
Communications Latvia
Telephones - main lines in use:
731,000 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.872 million (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: recent efforts focused on bringing competition to the telecommunications sector, beginning in 2003; the number of fixed lines is decreasing as wireless telephony expands
domestic: 3 wireless service providers including Lattelekom, the incumbent monopoly
international: country code - 371; the Latvian network is now connected via fiber optic cable to Estonia, Finland, and Sweden
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 8, FM 56, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios:
1.76 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
44 (plus 31 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions:
1.22 million (1997)
Internet country code:
.lv
Internet hosts:
65,858 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
41 (2001)
Internet users:
1.03 million (2005)
Transportation Latvia
Airports:
46 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 24
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 13 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 22
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 19 (2006)
Pipelines:
gas 1,097 km; oil 82 km; refined products 415 km (2006)
Railways:
total: 2,303 km
broad gauge: 2,270 km 1.520-m gauge (257 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 33 km 0.750-m gauge (2005)
Roadways:
total: 69,532 km
paved: 69,532 km (2004)
Waterways:
300 km (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 21 ships (1000 GRT or over) 250,559 GRT/336,136 DWT
by type: cargo 7, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 7, roll on/roll off 1
registered in other countries: 105 (Antigua and Barbuda 5, Bahamas 1, Belize 6, Cambodia 2, Cyprus 4, Dominica 1, Gibraltar 2, Liberia 14, Malta 40, Marshall Islands 7, Panama 3, Russia 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 18) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Riga, Ventspils
Military Latvia
Military branches:
Latvian Republic Defense Force: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Force, Border Guard, Home Guard (Zemessardze) (2005)
Military service age and obligation:
19 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months; 18 years of age for volunteers; plans are to phase out conscription, tentatively moving to an all-professional force by 2007; under current law, every citizen is entitled to serve in the armed forces for life (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 19-49: 517,713
females age 19-49: 519,631 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 19-49: 361,098
females age 19-49: 422,913 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 19,137
females age 19-49: 18,505 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$87 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.2% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Latvia
Disputes - international:
Russia refuses to sign the 1997 boundary treaty due to Latvian insistence on a unilateral clarificatory declaration referencing Soviet occupation of Latvia and territorial losses; Russia demands better Latvian treatment of ethnic Russians in Latvia; as of January 2007, ground demarcation of the boundary with Belarus was complete and mapped with final ratification documentation in preparation; the Latvian parliament has not ratified its 1998 maritime boundary treaty with Lithuania, primarily due to concerns over oil exploration rights; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Latvia must implement the strict Schengen border rules with Russia
Illicit drugs:
transshipment and destination point for cocaine, synthetic drugs, opiates, and cannabis from Southwest Asia, Western Europe, Latin America, and neighboring Balkan countries; despite improved legislation, vulnerable to money laundering due to nascent enforcement capabilities and comparatively weak regulation of offshore companies and the gaming industry; CIS organized crime (including counterfeiting, corruption, extortion, stolen cars, and prostitution) accounts for most laundered proceeds

This page was last updated on 17 April, 2007


 

Source: CIA World Factbook










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