State & Politics:
Latvia is a unitary state, currently divided into 110 one-level municipalities and 9 republican cities. Selonia, a part of Zemgale, is sometimes considered culturally distinct region, but it is not part of any formal division. The borders of historical and cultural regions usually are not explicit definite and in several sources may vary. In formal divisions Riga region, which includes capital and parts of other regions that have strong relationship to capital, is also often included in regional divisions e.g. there are five planning regions of Latvia (Latvian: plānošanas reģioni), which were created in 2009 to promote balanced development of all regions, under this division Riga region includes large parts of what traditionally is considered Vidzeme, Courland and Zemgale. Statistical regions of Latvia, established in accordance with EU Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, duplicate this division, but divides Riga region into two parts with capital alone being a separate region.
The 100-seat unicameral Latvian parliament, the Saeima (is the parliament of the Republic of Latvia), is elected by direct popular vote every four years. The president is elected by the Saeima in a separate election, also held every four years. The president appoints a prime minister who, together with his cabinet, forms the executive branch of the government, which has to receive a confidence vote by the Saeima. This system also existed before World War II. Highest civil servants are sixteen Secretaries of State.