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Ministry: countless offers are proposed to derail the limiting of prosecuted deputies' authority

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Аuthor: PantherMedia/SCANPIXSome proposals of specific Saeima deputies and social organizations for amendments to the Law On the Status of the Deputy of the Republic City Council and Municipality Council are clearly meant to delay the review of this matter for as long as possible, or even bury it for good, believes Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Edmunds Sprudzs.

“It is clear that the goal of the submitted proposals is to delay the approval of the law and constructive work in this direction. Most of these deputies are offering options that have been already discussed in past readings”, – the minister says.

Instead of searching for actual solutions on how to limit the ability of criminally prosecuted deputies to work in municipal councils, according to the minister, the responsible deputies continue to look for excuses not to review the matter in detail, as reported by EPRDM.

The minister adds that some of the Saeima officials made sure that the matter of limiting of authority of criminally prosecuted deputies is reviewed after municipal elections, obviously in fear of the voters’ criticism of the proposed candidates. This could also mean they are defending the interests of some specific third party that wants to come to power.

“It has become a tradition to have promises broken prior to election events – promising to resolve this issue and work on the new edition of the law a few weeks ago and suddenly trying to delay the process just days before the elections”, – Sprudzs emphasizes.

It should be added that a specially formed group of Saeima deputies reviewed amendment proposals on May 28.

BNN previously reported that coalition partners had previously promised to find a solution to the initiative to limit the authority of criminally prosecuted deputies.

Opposition parties had made sure that deputies accused of serious crimes will continue to remain in their posts. In spite of the fact that the vote took place on “an emotionally sensitive” date – May 9 – representatives of Harmony Centre, Union of Greens and Farmers and the National Alliance managed to go through this issue without conflicts.

This initiative was supported by 38 parliamentarians, 41 voted against, five abstained from the vote.

Proposals were not supported by deputies of parties of the opposition – Harmony Centre (HC), Union of Greens and Farmers (UGF), as well as some deputies of the coalition – Janis Dombrava (National Alliance), Raivis Dzintars (National Alliance) and some others.

The proposal of the commission that developed the amendments to the Law On the Status of the Deputy of the Republic City Council and Municipality Council provided the following: if criminal proceedings are initiated against an official for committing serious crimes, the official loses the right to participate in municipal, commission and committee meetings.

It is also provided that these limitations will remain in power until criminal proceedings have ended. It is planned to have the official be paid only part of his usual salary during this period. This initiative caused wide discussions in the parliament. It was positively viewed and proposed to be supported by coalition officials, while opposition and some of the National Alliance members criticized it.

According to Raivis Dzintars of the National Alliance, people’s lives should not be put into question only to hurt Aivars Lembergs a little.

Unity deputy Lolita Cigane emphasized that this bill is not being pushed because of one or a group of deputies – it is meant to apply to all municipal deputies. “Those who claim this bill is meant to be used against specific people, in reality lobby the interests of those people. They do not think about benefiting society”, – she says.

Representatives of the opposition also voted against this initiative. Deputy chairman of HC Valery Agesin said during debates that the idea about limiting an official’s authority is not bad, just that the execution is “weak and does not comply with principles of legislation”. Chairman of the parliamentary faction of UGF Augusts Brigmanis said this proposal is “absolutely absurd”, because it is written “for one person”.

The Saeima had reviewed this bill in its second reading and, in spite of the declined proposal, approved it.

As previously reported, initial proposal by the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry stated that a municipal official’s authority was to be halted if criminal proceedings were initiated against him. Initial proposals were not supported. Another proposal was developed shortly after, and has received the support of the commission on April 30.Another proposal from the ministry suggests removing an official from the post of Chairman of municipality in accordance with the Law on Municipalities: if the official fails to fulfil the duties stated by the law. This would allow the head of EPRDM to remove the official from his post with a direct order. Unity official Lolita Cigane offers adding the law with a regulation that states an official would lose his right to participate in meetings of commissions and municipalities if criminal proceedings are initiated against him.

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