The Cabinet of Ministers is the highest executive body of the country. The role and functions of the executive power are stipulated in the Satversme (the Constitution) of the Republic of Latvia and in the Law on the Structure of Cabinet Law. The Cabinet of Ministers is formed by a person invited by the State President.
Composition of the Cabinet of Ministers
The Cabinet of Ministers consists of the Prime Minister and the ministers invited by the Prime Minister. Prime Minister may invite one Deputy Prime Minister as a member of the Cabinet of Ministers and one or more ministers for special assignments. The Cabinet of Ministers determines the duties of the Deputy Prime Minister and the ministers for special assignments. Prime Minister may also appoint a state minister.
In addition to his direct responsibilities the Prime Minister may permanently lead the work of one ministry.
Appointment, confidence vote and resignation
The Cabinet of Ministers starts exercising its duties after receiving a confidence vote by the Saeima (the Parliament). Ministers and state ministers appointed by the Prime Minister at a later stage shall receive a special confidence vote by the Saeima.
If the Saeima gives a non-confidence vote to the Prime Minister, all the Cabinet must resign. If a minister receives a non-confidence vote, he/she must resign and the Prime Minister shall invite another person to take over the responsibilities. The Saeima expresses its non-confidence to all the Cabinet by adopting a respective decision or by rejecting annual state budget submitted by the Cabinet.
The Prime Minister shall notify the President and the Chairperson of the Saeima regarding the resignation of Cabinet; the latter shall present this notification at the next sitting of the Saeima.
The Prime Minister or individual ministers and state ministers, who have resigned from office either with or without an expression of non-confidence from the Saeima, shall continue to fulfil their duties of office, except for cases when the Saeima has decided otherwise and has appointed persons to temporarily assume these offices, until a successor is appointed.
If the Prime Minister requests resignation of a minister or a state minister, the state minister shall resign even without a non-confidence vote by the Saeima. If one or several ministers resign, the Prime Minister himself/herself may temporarily take over their responsibilities or assign them to other ministers. The Prime Minister shall invite other persons to replace the resigned ministers. The invited persons shall take the office of a minister only after receiving a confidence vote by the Saeima.
Functions and authority of the Cabinet of Ministers
Public institutions are subject to the authority of the Cabinet of Ministers.
The Cabinet of Ministers has legislative rights; rights to appoint a broad range of civil servants or approve their status. Cabinet of Ministers discusses or decides on all issues within its scope of competence pursuant to the Satversme and other laws. The Cabinet of Ministers may issue legislative enactments – regulations only in the following cases:
when such a right specially stipulated or delegated to the Cabinet by the respective law; or
if the particular matter has not been regulated by law.
The regulations may not be contrary to the Constitution or laws. The regulations shall include a reference to the law pursuant to which they have been issued.
The Cabinet of Ministers and an individual minister may issue instructions binding to the institutions which are under their subordination:
if a law or regulations grant a special authority to the Cabinet of Ministers or an individual minister; or
if the particular matter has not been regulated by law or regulations.
The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers are entitled to issue orders in cases provided for in laws and Cabinet regulations. An order is an individual administrative act that applies to specific State institutions and officials.
In the absence of the Prime Minister or if he or she is otherwise prevented from fulfilling his or her office, his or her duties shall be performed by that member of the Cabinet appointed by the Prime Minister as acting in his or her place. This shall be reported to the President and to the Chairperson of the Saeima.
In the absence of the Deputy Prime Minister or a Minister, or if he or she is otherwise prevented from fulfilling his or her office, his or her duties shall be performed by that member of the Cabinet appointed by the Prime Minister as to act in his or her place.
The Cabinet of Ministers shall adopt its decision by a majority vote of members present at the Cabinet meeting. More than half of all Cabinet members present at the meeting shall constitute a quorum of the Cabinet of Ministers.