|Prime Minister of Latvia|
11 February 2016
|Preceded by||Laimdota Straujuma|
|Minister of Regional Development and Local Government|
2 December 2004 – 7 November 2006
|Prime Minister||Aigars Kalvītis|
|Preceded by||Andrejs Radzevičs|
|Succeeded by||Aigars Štokenbergs|
(1961-11-28) 28 November 1961
|Political party||People’s Party (1998–2011)
Liepāja Party (2014–present)
|Union of Greens and Farmers (2014–present)|
|Alma mater||University of Latvia|
Māris Kučinskis (born November 28, 1961, near Limbaži) is a Latvian politician and the current Prime Minister of Latvia.
Māris Kučinskis was born on 28 November 1961, in the settlement of Ķirbiži in Limbaži District in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. After ordinary school in Ķirbiži he moved to the town of Valmiera, where he studied at Secondary school №4 (1977-1980). After that he began to work as an economist at the Finance department of The Valmiera Board of People’s Deputies. From 1981 he served in the Soviet army and then entered the Faculty of management and economic information of the Latvian State University. At the same time, from 1984, he began to work as chief accountant at the Valmiera plant of fire prevention equipment.
In 1987 Kučinskis was invited to become the chief economist of the district housing and communal department of The Valmiera Board of People’s Deputies. In 1991 he founded the private company Apgāds Ltd, which specialized in the trade of construction materials. He worked there as Deputy director until 1994 and as Director from 1997-1998.
While on a break from political activity from November 2011, Kučinskis was an adviser to the Deputy Executive Director of The Association of greater Latvian cities (Latvijas Lielo Pilsētu asociācijā, LLPA). This organization joins 9 Latvian cities of republican subordination. From September 2013 until February 2016, M. Kučinskis was the leader of it.
Kučinskis was first elected to Valmiera city council in 1994 and became its Chairman in 1996. He was re-elected in 1998 he was elected and continued as chairman until 2003. From 1998—2000 he was also Chairman of Valmiera district council. He joined the People’s Party in 1997.
Kučinskis become a Deputy of the Saeima for the first time in 2002 as a member of the People’s Party, when its political boss Andris Šķēle announced his retirement from politics, but remained, as he stated, an “ordinary member” of the Party and was thought to have a considerable behind-the-scenes influence. In the cabinet led by Aigars Kalvītis, Kučinskis was Minister of Environment and Regional development from 2004-2006.
In October 2006 Kučinskis was once more elected a Deputy of the Saeima and became a chairman of the People’s Party faction in parliament. This position was subsequently given to Vineta Muižniece. In October 2009, when The People’s Party found itself in a deep crisis, Šķēle returned to politics as the chairman of the party. Kučinskis began to work at the Board as a member. In 2010 Muižniece was appointed as a judge of the Constitutional Court and Kučinskis returned to lead the parliamentary faction.
In October 2010 Kučinskis was elected as a member of the parliament from the party alliance For a Good Latvia which included the People’s Party.
At the early election of 2011 Kučinskis ran for the Union of Greens and Farmers alliance, but didn’t win a place in Parliament. When his party fraction member Iveta Grigule was elected as a Deputy of the European parliament, he took her seat in the 11th Saeima. In October 2014 he was elected as a Deputy of the 12th Saeima and became the Chairman of the Parliamentary commission on long-term development.
On 13 January 2016 he was nominated to replace Laimdota Straujuma as the Prime Minister of Latvia, coming after her resignation the previous December. He was nominated by State President Raimonds Vējonis, and his cabinet was approved by the Saeima on 11 February. He is the first Prime Minister not to be a member of the Unity Party or one of its predecessors since 2009, and the first from the ZZS since 2004.