Latvia Unitary state


Structures and competences

Local level :
110 municipalities (novadi) and 9 cities (pilsēta)

The council (dome) is the government’s legislative body. Its members are councillors elected by direct universal suffrage for a period of four years. The council elects the chairperson of the council and members of the standing committees from among its councillors. The existence of both the Finance committee and Social, Education and Culture committee are mandatory. However, local governments are free to set up other standing committees, all of them are composed of politicians and local experts. Standing committees prepare draft decisions for the council.

The chairperson of the council (priekšsēdētājs) is elected by and from within the council for a four-year term. He/she chairs the council and the Finance committee. The competences of local governments can either be autonomous (determined by law or voluntary) or delegated by the state or central government.


The competences listed below are autonomous, determined by law:

  • Water and heating supply
  • Waste management
  • Public services and infrastructure
  • Public management of forests and water
  • Primary and secondary education
  • Culture
  • Public health
  • Social services
  • Child welfare
  • Social housing
  • Licencing for commercial activities
  • Public order and civil protection
  • Urban development
  • Collection of statistical information
  • Public transport
  • On-going training for teachers

Regional level :
5 planning regions

The regional development council (Plānošanas reģiona attīstības padome) is elected by representatives of all local governments, whose administrative territories compose the territory of the respective planning region. Its members are local councillors, who are involved directly. The regional development council elects the chair and executive director (head of the administration of the planning region). The administration of the planning region is responsible to the regional development council planning regions have their own property, legislative and administrative rights and responsibilities.


  • Development planning and spatial planning, including legislative elements
  • Organisation of public transport, in cooperation with central government


  • Coordination of the replacement of deinstitutionalisation of social care
  • Coordination of the regional scale public investment policy