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Latvia: From Hubris to Nemesis

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Governments' Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic in Europe
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Abstract

The Latvian government acted quickly in closing air, land and sea borders after the World Health Organization characterized Covid-19 as a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. An Emergency Situation was announced, “stay-at-home” instructions followed, and the first wave of the pandemic passed with few infections and hospitalizations. This first lockdown phase was marked by a high degree of elite unity and public collaboration as the country attempted to come to terms with the initial confusion and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. However, a long second-wave that began in the early autumn and stretched through a long winter and into the early spring of 2021 heightened public discontent and the unity of the first phase disappeared as Latvia returned to a socially distanced politics as normal of feuding politicians, fragmenting government coalitions and a disenchanted, hostile public. Government institutions quickly adapted to the pandemic. In the early stages of the pandemic the prime minister, finance minister and health minister led the decision-making process, but this was gradually enlarged to the cabinet of ministers as a whole and then to a broader group of experts and academics. Existing patterns of governance continued for normal, non-pandemic policymaking, with continuing political conflicts among the members of the government coalition and between the government and mainstream opposition. Only the small populist opposition sought to politicize the pandemic.

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Correspondence to Daunis Auers .

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Auers, D. (2023). Latvia: From Hubris to Nemesis. In: Lynggaard, K., Jensen, M.D., Kluth, M. (eds) Governments' Responses to the Covid-19 Pandemic in Europe. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-14145-4_19

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