|13th Prime Minister of Latvia|
11 February 2016 - 23 January 2019
|Minister of Regional Development and Local Government|
2 December 2004 - 7 November 2006
|Born||28 November 1961|
?irbi?i, Limba?i District, Latvian SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||People's Party (1998-2011)|
Liep?ja Party (2014-present)
|Union of Greens and Farmers (2014-present)|
|Alma mater||University of Latvia|
M?ris Ku?inskis was born on 28 November 1961, in Limba?i District, Latvia, where he lived until the age of 16. After primary school in the village of ?irbi?i he moved to the town of Valmiera, where he studied at Valmiera Secondary School No. 4. After graduating in 1980, he began to work as an economist at the finance department of The Valmiera Board of People's Deputies. From 1981 to 1984 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 Ku?inskis 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 Apg?ds Ltd, which specialized in the trade of construction materials. He worked there as deputy director until 1994 and as director from 1997 to 1998.
While on a break from political activity from November 2011, Ku?inskis was an adviser to the Deputy Executive Director of The Association of greater Latvian cities (Latvijas Lielo Pils?tu asoci?cij?, LLPA). This organization joins 9 Latvian cities of republican subordination. From September 2013 until February 2016 he was LLPA leader.
Ku?inskis 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 2002. From 1998--2000 he was also Chairman of Valmiera district council. He joined the People's Party in 1997.
Ku?inskis 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 le 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 Kalv?tis, Ku?inskis was Minister of Environment and Regional development from 2004-2006.
In October 2006 Ku?inskis 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 Mui?niece. In October 2009, when The People's Party found itself in a deep crisis, le returned to politics as the chairman of the party. Ku?inskis began to work at the Board as a member. In 2010 Mui?niece was appointed as a judge of the Constitutional Court and Ku?inskis returned to lead the parliamentary faction.
In October 2010 Ku?inskis 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 Ku?inskis 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 by President Raimonds V?jonis to replace Laimdota Straujuma as the Prime Minister of Latvia following her resignation the previous December and his cabinet was approved by the Saeima on 11 February. He was 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 Union of Greens and Farmers since 2004.
Under Ku?inskis, Latvia raised defense spending to fulfill its commitment as a member of NATO to spend 2% of the country's GDP on defense. In July 2017, he rejected American President Donald Trump's proposal that NATO raise its spending requirement to 4% of GDP.
In March 2016, Ku?inskis supported acquiescing to a demand by Turkey for EUR3 billion in exchange for keeping refugees from the Syrian Civil War, arguing that the payment would be more favorable than an "uncontrolled migrant flow" to Latvia.
On 12 February, 2018, Ku?inskis confirmed that he would run in the October 2018 election, and that he would be willing to serve another term as prime minister if his party was successful enough in the elections. On 6 October, the Union of Greens and Farmers lost 10 seats in Saeima and became the sixth largest faction in parliament. Four days after the election, New Conservative Party leader J?nis Bord?ns announced his party would refuse to work in a coalition with the Union of Greens and Farmers. Although Bord?ns would fail to form a government, the New Conservative Party eventually formed a coalition with Who Owns The State?, Development/For!, National Alliance, and New Unity while the Union of Greens and Farmers went to opposition with Harmony. Ku?inskis was replaced by New Unity candidate Kri?j?nis Kari as prime minister on 23 January, 2019.
Despite losing the prime ministership, Ku?inskis was re-elected to Saeima in the October 2018 election, and became the head of the National Security Committee on November 21 over the objections of the New Conservative Party. On 11 April 2019, he joined his party in voting for a motion of no confidence against Kari that failed 33-58.