CENTRE OF GOVERNMENT PROFILE
[As at May 1998]
|The Government||The Government
The Cabinet of Ministers consists of the Prime Minister, who chairs the meetings, and 12 ministers, nominated by him.
The Prime Minister may nominate one or two ministers for special assignments, one Deputy Prime Minister, who is a fully-fledged member of the Cabinet andstate ministers. The Prime Minister may also appoint one or several ministers to act as Deputy Prime Ministers.
Only the Prime Minister, ministers and the ministers for special assignments have the right to vote. State ministers shall only have the right to vote on issues which concern their department. Usually they participate in the meetings of the Cabinet as advisors. The Prime Minister may authorise his advisor, and a minister may authorise a ministry employee with a consent of the Prime Minister to participate in a meeting of the Cabinet in the capacity of advisor.
More than a half (7) of ministers present constitute the quorum. In the question concerning the state ministers competency, his vote is counted in. The Cabinet makes decisions with a majority vote of ministers present.
The Cabinet of Ministers issues regulations if the law specifically authorises the Cabinet of Ministers to do so, or if the respective issue is not regulated by law. The regulations shall indicate the legal basis (laws) upon which they have been issued.
The Cabinet of Ministers views draft laws which after approval are submitted to the Saeima (Parliament).
The Cabinet of Ministers and ministers may issue instructions binding to the institutions subordinated to them if the law or regulations specifically authorise them to do so or if the respective issue has not been regulated by other regulations or by law.
According to Article 81 of the Constitution, the Cabinet of Ministers is entitled to issue regulations with a force of law in the case of urgent necessity between the sessions of the Saeima. They shall be annulled if not presented to the Saeima within three days after the opening of the following session.
The Cabinet of Ministers takes decisions on regulations, instructions, recommendations and orders, and accepts draft laws and conceptions.
Meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers are held on weekly basis. Extraordinary meetings of Cabinet are held by the initiative of the Prime Minister. Meetings of the Cabinet are declared by the Director of the State Chancellery.
The State President has the right to convoke an extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet.
The agenda includes items submitted by the ministers.
An item is presented after it has gone through the Committee of the Cabinet.
There are planned matters (regulations, conceptions, draft laws, etc.) for each meeting of the Cabinet.
Each item has to be presented by the minister both in oral and written form.
Each item has to be accepted in the committees before it is presented to the members of the Cabinet.
|The preparation of submissions
The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister, the State Minister as well as Minister for Special Assignments have the right to submit a draft legislative act to the Cabinet of Ministers.
The submission is registered by the State Chancellery.
There are formal requirements for draft legal acts submitted to the Cabinet. They must:
The draft legal act must be supplemented by a cover letter stating the necessity for the legal act, projected political, social and financial consequences, as well as consistency of the draft with EU legislation.
The minutes from the State Secretaries meeting and discussion with the Association of the Latvian Local Governments as well as opinions from ministries must be enclosed with a draft legal act.
All submissions are circulated after the announcement at the State Secretaries' meeting. The respective ministry forwards the draft for mandatory opinion to the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice and the European Integration Bureau and to other institutions upon demand.
The opinion of the ministries named above must be given within 14 days. The package is then returned to the State Chancellery, which within 7 days decides whether the draft is ready for transmission to the Cabinet Committee or the Cabinet.
Submission of the proposal at the Cabinet meeting without prior notice is not a common practice. The Prime Minister can declare any issue at any time to be a matter of the Cabinet which means that this issue must be decided at the Cabinet meeting.
|The preparation of decisions
Meetings of the State Secretaries and the Cabinet Committee play an important role in the preparation of government decisions.
If there is a disagreement about the draft legal act at the level of ministries, it is submitted to the Committee for decision at the political level. The Committee is chaired by the Prime Minister. The meetings aim at resolving issues.
If the issue is not resolved, the Prime Minister may declare it a Cabinet matter and it will be decided at the Cabinet meeting.
|Decision-making and recording
More than half of ministers present constitutes a quorum. The state minister's vote is counted in the questions concerning hiscompetency. The Cabinet takes decisions with a majority vote of ministers present. In a case of an equal number of votes, a vote by the Prime Minister is decisive. Exercise of veto is not prescribed by the respective legislation.
A person appointed by the Director of the Chancellery records the meetings of the Cabinet. The record contains only persons who have participated in the meeting, debates and the adopted decision. A record is prepared by the morning of the next day, signed by the chair of the Cabinet meeting and the Director of the Chancellery and sent out to ministers and other officials.
The record is sent to officials responsible for implementation of a certain decision orf responsible for monitoring this decision.
|Implementation of decisions
A record of the meeting is sent out the next morning to the ministers and other officials.
The minister who has signed the adopted decision is responsible for its implementation (the second signature after the Prime Minister).
The State Chancellery monitors only those issues which require written information submitted to the Cabinet or Prime Minister or where preparation of a document and submission to the Cabinet is required.
Supervision over implementation of tasks is removed by the Director of the State Chancellery after assessment of a proposal made by the minister or the state secretary of the respective ministry.
The Director of the Chancellery sets the procedure for a unified monitoring of the legal acts and tasks issued by the Cabinet or Prime Minister and regularly informs the Prime Minister about implementation of the tasks.
|SUBORDINATE BODIES OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS|
|INSTITUTIONS AT THE CENTRE OF
The Committee of the Cabinet.
Organisation and membership
The number and composition of the Cabinet Committees is set by the Prime Ministers order.
Its function is to harmonise the opinions and prepare the draft regulations for viewing in the meeting of the Cabinet.
Support and advisory structures
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO)
The PMO consists mostly of non-civil servants, although the civil servants can also be employees of the PMO.
The PMO usually consists of about 10 persons, including advisors, assistants and a press secretary. There are also freelance advisors to the Prime Minister.
The PMO is politically responsible for implementation of assigned functions.
Its functions are to:
The State Chancellery
Organisation and Functions
The State Chancellery is a public institution aiming to create the necessary preconditions for the co-ordinated performance of the Cabinet of Ministers and Prime Minister. It includes both legal and administrative services.
The State Chancellery shall:
There are several departments and divisions within the State Chancellery:
The State Chancellery is administratively responsible before the Cabinet and the Prime Minister for implementation of functions assigned to it.
The State Chancellery provides administrative and legal services to the Committee of the Cabinet.
Senior Staff and advisors to the Head of Government
The State Chancellery is headed by the Director. The Director of the Chancellery is appointed by the order of the Cabinet of Ministers after a proposal of the Prime Minister.
The head of the Prime Ministers Bureau is appointed by the order of the Prime Minister for a period not exceeding that of the Prime Minister being in the office.
|FOR FURTHER INFORMATION||Agris Varpins
Projects Management Department of the State Chancellery of Latvia
36, Brivibas str.