2
Latvia

FerdinandMüller-RommelandOleNørgaard


Cabinet setting

Latvian developments since 1989

The road to independence was less smooth in Latvia than in the other two Baltic States because about one third of the population are ethnic Russians. Thus, political conflicts between pro- and anti-Soviet Union positions were foremost in the public debate in the first years after independence.

Organised Latvian opposition against the Soviet Union began in the mid-1980s. One of the strongest opposition movements was a group of anti-Soviet intellectuals known as the Latvian Writers' Union. It was established in 1987 and put forward a resolution proposing that Latvia became an internationally recognised sovereign state. Moreover, the movement demanded complete autonomy in financial matters and in education, and an end to censorship and human rights violations in Latvia. In October 1988, the group formed the Popular Front of Latvia (PFL).

The founding congress of the PFL adopted a charter advocating greater economic and political autonomy for the republic: an immigration policy that would keep non-Latvians from entering the country; free democratic elections; an independent constitutional court; territorial armed forces; separate diplomatic representation abroad; and religious instruction in schools. By the end of 1988 the PFL had become the largest and most influential political force in Latvia. In March 1989 candidates supported by the PFL won 26 of the 34 contested Latvian seats in the USSR's Congress of People's Deputies.

Under these new political circumstances the governing Latvian Communist Party (CP) changed its position. The majority of CP members in the Latvian Supreme Soviet decided to abolish the clause in Article 6 of the Latvian Constitution guaranteeing the ‘leading role’ of the Communist Party. In addition, the Latvian Supreme Soviet passed a law restoring the official use of the original flag, state emblems and national anthem of independent Latvia in place of those used by Soviet Latvia.

-29-

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Cabinets in Eastern Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Tables viii
  • Notes on Contributors ix
  • Preface x
  • Cabinets in Post-Communist East-Central Europe and in the Balkans: Introduction 1
  • Notes 14
  • Part 1 - East-Central Europe 15
  • 1 - Estonia 17
  • 2 - Latvia 29
  • 3 - Lithuania 40
  • 4 - Poland 50
  • 5 - Czech Republic 62
  • 6 - Slovakia 73
  • 7 - Hungary 84
  • 8 - Slovenia 95
  • Part 2 - The Balkans 107
  • 9 - Romania 109
  • 10 - Moldova 120
  • 11 - Bulgaria 131
  • 12 - Albania 142
  • 13 - Macedonia 152
  • 14 - Croatia 162
  • 15 - Bosnia-Hercegovina 173
  • 16 - Serbia and the New Yugoslavia 184
  • 17 - Cabinets in Post-Communist East-Central Europe and the Balkans: Empirical Findings and Research Agenda 193
  • Appendices 202
  • Bibliography 226
  • Index 241
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