Latvia: Experiments and Reforms in Decentralization

Inga Vilka

in The Oxford Handbook of Local and Regional Democracy in Europe

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199562978
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Latvia: Experiments and Reforms in Decentralization

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  • Politics
  • Regional Political Studies
  • Comparative Politics



Latvia is an independent country which was founded in 1918. Its independence was interrupted by the Soviet Union and was renewed in 1991. It joined the European Union in 2004. Latvia is a sovereign, independent, unitary, and indivisible nation-state. Its government is republic and it is organized on the principle of separation and balance of the legislative, executive, and judicial powers. This article focuses on Latvia and its decentralization reforms. Latvia has a long history of development of local government. From 1918 to 1934, Latvia had a positive experience of creating democratic society and local governments; however the fruits of these efforts were lost after the formation of an autocratic regime in 1934 and the Soviet occupation. In 1991, after its independence, Latvia implemented public administration and local government reforms. From 1991 to 1998, reforms which centred on democratization, decentralization, increased local accountability for the implementation of entrusted functions, improvement of the quality services, and extensive involvement of citizens in the local government activities were introduced.

Keywords: Latvia; decentralization reforms; local government; democratic society; public administration reforms; democratization; decentralization; local accountability; involvement of citizens

Article.  8119 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Regional Political Studies ; Comparative Politics

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