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Tuesday 16.07.2019 | Name days: Hermīne, Estere
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Association: municipalities should organize their work on their own

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn 6 March, Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments (LALRG) reviewed the letter sent to Riga City Council by Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry, in which the institution ordered the municipality to review their internal order and lift restrictions on the length of debates and the number of questions deputies are allowed to ask.

Board members emphasized that the ministry’s position unjustifiably limits self-regulatory functions of the municipality, because each municipality has a duty first and foremost before its voters, not the ministry. It is the duty of every council to ensure constructive and efficient decision-making processes in the interest of all residents, notes LALRG.

For example, the controversial rules adopted by Riga City Council state that each deputy is allowed to ask no more than three questions during discussions of a single matter. If all 28 opposition deputies ask three questions each, rapporteurs will have to answer 84 questions, LALRG notes.

BNN had previously reported that even though the opposition voted against, Riga City Council adopted internal order rules that limit deputies’ rights to ask questions during meetings.

Opposition representatives believe the new rules limit freedom of speech and threaten democracy.

LALRG board also notes that each municipality organizes its work in accordance with internal rules. Because of that, organization of work may differ from municipality to municipality. The same applies to rules that govern debates and deputies’ rights to ask questions.

The association claims work performed by municipal governments is organized to ensure efficient decision-making and allow each faction formulate their position. «Deputies have to right to acquire information and voice their opinions in regards to different decisions. The decision-making process has to be constructive. Members of municipal administrations are able to learn the necessary information in ways other than council meetings: it is possible to learn it during preparation of different matters, including meetings of different committees and different documents,» as noted by LALRG.

The association also notes that deputies’ rights are limited during Saeima plenary meetings and procedures performed by Saeima committees, which are allowed to be attended by any member of the parliament. Municipal administrations use Saeima’s internal order as a template for their own internal regulations.


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