bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Saturday 24.08.2019 | Name days: Boļeslavs, Bērtulis
LatviaLatvia

Dainis Turlais elected Mayor of Riga after nine hour-long discussions

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Mayor of Riga Dainis Turlais

On Thursday, 30 May, members of Riga City Council elected Dainis Turlais from Honour to Serve Riga (HSR) political party as Mayor of Riga.

No other candidate was proposed. Turlais was picked by the previous mayor – Nils Ušakovs. 32 deputies of the ruling coalition voted in favour of Turlais, whereas 23 opposition deputies decided to not participate in the vote.

«It was far easier for me to do my job, including in wartime, than it is now to take the seat of chairman of Riga City Council,» said Dainis Turlais after his election.

He thanked Riga City Council deputies for their support and the opportunity they gave him to work, adding that he has proved his readiness. «I have proved my readiness to work to ensure the capital grows, people are happy and satisfied. I promise to not betray your trust and I fully understand it will be a hard task,» said the politician.

The mayor said there is no difference who could take the post because all deputies present at the meeting «were made to serve their people and Riga». «We are committed to doing everything to make people friendlier, hardier and more respectful to their neighbours regardless of nationality, age and religious beliefs,» said Turlais.

In his farewell speech, Ušakovs said it was ‘a great honour’ to have worked as Mayor of Riga. He extended gratitude to all municipal workers and colleagues for the work they have done together.

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Dainis Turlais

Initially it was planned to elect the second Vice-Mayor of Riga at an extraordinary meeting after electing the mayor. The post became vacant when Oļegs Burovs decided to step down. The meeting was scheduled for 20:00 30 May but because of the opposition the meeting in which the mayor was elected took longer than expected. After his election, Turlais announced there would be no election of the vice-mayor on the same day and that this decision will be resolved at another meeting later.

The name of the candidate to take the seat of the second vice-mayor in Riga remains unknown. However, unofficial information states that Harmony’s member Sandris Bergmanis will likely be the chosen candidate. He has confirmed that he is ready to take this post. This means Harmony’s politicians will likely hold the posts of both vice-mayors.

Until now Turlais was head of Riga City Council’s Security, Order and Corruption Prevention Committee.

Turlais’ interview lasted six hours, but together with breaks and debates regarding election of the new mayor the total time spent in discussions exceeds nine hours. During debates opposition deputies said replacing the mayor would not improve the situation in the city. They said that the coalition has started to collapse.

Opposition deputy Ģirts Lapiņš from the National Alliance said replacing the mayor is akin to painting the fence in a new colour. «The old face of corruption goes away and the façade changes with it, but nothing really changes,» he said, adding that Turlais will not stop the plague of corruption in the municipality.

Opposition deputy Druvis Kleins from the New Conservative Party said that looking at the situation in the city council one gets the impression of «sitting in a bus that is actively steered by the coalition towards the wrong driving lane». He said Ušakovs has done some good deeds, but he also added that the many bad deeds have ruined all the good that has been done. «Maybe Turlais will be able to stop the bus, but I believe we will end up in a situation when the two men who have left will be watching with cocktails in hand how KNAB goes through the emptied bus,» Kleins said.

City council deputy Ansis Ansbergs said that

«we can be happy that Harmony is sinking», adding that he is nonetheless worried that Riga is sinking with them.

«I can hear a wave of depressive talks in the city council. They’re saying we should wait until elections and then fix everything, but gods help us if we let our hands down and do nothing for two years. We have to continue submitting proposals and do something,» proposed Ansbergs.

Opposition deputies also said that Turlais is being used. Thus, it is unclear why he even agreed to take the seat. «Turlais is like a janitor who clears the table of the big lords. The party was great – people ate and drank for years, and some drinks were even without excise tax labels. But all of it was paid for using other people’s money,» as opposition deputy Mārcis Kūlis describes the situation in the municipality.

«I am surprised the ex-general even agreed to all this. It seems to me you stood in a queue and picked the longest straw to become the one to last until elections. By doing so you will kill Turlais, he is retired – he still want to live,» said opposition deputy Marija Balcere.

Several coalition deputies sprung to Turlais’ defence. For example, deputy Eiženija Aldermane shared experience working in the European Council, where, if someone disliked another member’s report, he was still treated with respect. «But now you’re bashing a person who holds authority in Europe,» she said.

Vjačeslavs Stepaņenko said was surprised to hear such negativity from the opposition, adding that to him it seems like the coalition is in charge of the city council four days a week and the opposition is in charge for the other three. «It is unlikely you could compete with ideas, because today you could propose alternative options in every field, but I heard nothing of the sort today. You do not offer support or creative approach, you only know how to criticize,» Stepaņenko told the opposition; at the same time thanking Turlais for his bravery in taking mayoral duties.

Vice-Mayor Vadims Baraņņiks said the long interview process proved the opposition «is afraid of a strong person leading the city council». «This proves we have picked a very strong candidate. I am confident he will be an excellent mayor,» he said.

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Nils Ušakovs (L) and Dainis Turlais (R)

Turlais was born in 1950. He started his career in the Soviet years in the military. He also served in Afghanistan. He was also the commander of Latvia’s Armed Forces in 1992-1994. Later he served as then the President of Latvia Guntis Ulmanis as advisor in defence and strategic planning affairs.

Later Turlais entered politics and was elected to the 6th Saeima from Saimnieks political party’s list. He also served as interior affairs minister in Andris Šķēle’s government. He stepped down after the tragedy in Talsi, when eight children died during celebration of Fire Fighters Holiday.

In 1999 he changed parties and became a member of Latvian Way, which he quickly left and instead joined National Harmony Party in 2002. He was also elected in the 8th Saeima.

In 204 he once again changed his political allegiance and joined Latvia’s First Party. In 2009 he was elected to Riga City Council from the list of Ainārs Šlesers’ party LPP/LC. He has since worked in the city council, only switching to HSR at one point.

Riga’s previous mayor Nils Ušakovs, who was previously suspended by Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce, announced on 29 May that he is stepping down from his post. He and ex-Vice Mayor of Riga Andris Ameriks was elected to the European Parliament on 25 May.


Leave a reply

  1. Zerry says:

    Until now Turlais was head of Riga City Council’s Security, Order and Corruption Prevention Committee. Most likely very trusty and transparent in his post if even in previous position could not see what was going on.

Hot weekend ahead in Latvia

Over this weekend, in Latvia, a wide anticyclone will determine the weather keeping the sunny and mostly dry weather of Friday, according to the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

IKEA to land in Estonia from next week

Swedish furniture design and retail chain IKEA plans to enter the Estonian market on August 29. According to the firm, it would first open an online store.

Levits: People on Baltic Way melted totalitarian regime in their hands

During the Baltic Way people melted a totalitarian regime in their hands, said Latvian President Egils Levits at the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the peaceful mass demonstration marked at the Castle of Riga.

Turn in high-profile court saga: Ventspils mayor receives state lawyer

The mayor of the Latvian port city Ventspils, Aivars Lembergs, who is charged with serious crimes and has been suspended from office, has been appointed a state lawyer in the long court process that has had many delays.

No obstacles to Riga signing waste contract on 20 years, says ministry, despite probe

Latvian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development has stated that the plan by the Riga City Council to award a waste management contract on 20 years is not against the law, despite competition regulator investigating alleged violations.

Riga pledges to increase use of Latvian in its kindergartens

The Riga municipality will continue increasing the use of the Latvian language in the kindergartens of the capital, the responsible department of the Riga City Council has stated in reaction to calls to switch all kindergarten groups to the official language.

France supports new, short Brexit talks for UK to leave with deal

Emmanuel Macron of France supported new, month-long Brexit negotiations to avoid a no-deal Brexit, but was against the removal of the Irish backstop from the deal – a key demand by his guest British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Lithuania backs Sinkevičius as European Commission nominee

The Lithuanian parliament on Thursday, August 22, voted to support Virginijus Sinkevičius, the Lithuanian Minister of the Economy and Innovation, as the country’s pick for the next European Commission.

New member of Riga Freeport board rushes to meet controversial Šlesers, TV3 Ziņas says

Riga councilman Sandris Bergmanis has a day after being elected to the board of the Freeport of Riga Authority met with businessman and former Latvian minister Ainārs Šlesers, according to the news programme TV3 Ziņas.

Latvian power production drops to lowest level in year

Energy companies in Latvia produced 357 655 megawatt hours of power in July, which is the lowest level of national power output since July 2018. This allowed to cover 64% of the Latvian electricity consumption, according to AS Augstsprieguma tīkls.

Compensation payments of defunct Latvian PNB Banka begin

With operations of the Latvian bank, AS PNB Banka, stopped, the process of paying the guaranteed compensation to its clients has begun on August 22, according Citadele, the lender tasked with the payments.

Riga planning to introduce tourist fee – one euro per day

The Riga City Council is discussing a plan to introduce a tourist fee charging all places of tourist accommodation a fee of one euro per day.

Expert: With Belarus electricity freezing Baltics’ solidarity, Moscow is over the moon

In a blow to Lithuania’s far-reaching plans, Latvia has announced it looks forward to buying electricity from a nuclear power plant in Belarus’ Astravyets under construction 50 kilometres away from Vilnius.

WHO: Little risk from microplastics in drinking water

The World Health Organization has declared that the current level of microplastic particles in drinking water does not pose is not a serious risk for health, yet more research was necessary to determine their effects on human health.

Subsidies to controversial Riga transport company could increase by EUR 20 mln

Amid the criticism of the Riga municipal transport company Rīgas satiksme for its losses and their effect on the Latvian state budget, a plan has been voiced to increase its subsidies, now 120 million euros, by another 20 million euros, Latvian Radio reports.

Latvian Minister keeping adviser detained by corruption watchdog for now

Latvian Agriculture Minister Kaspars Gerhards will clarify the reason, why his advisor and the mayor of the city of Ogre, Egils Helmanis, has been detained by corruption investigators, to decide on keeping him in office.

Trump, Macron willing to readmit Russia to G7, despite Crimea annexation

The leaders of France and the United States have expressed their backing to readmitting Russia to the G7 conference of world powers in 2020, despite Ukraine’s Crimea still being held by Moscow, CNN reports.

Latvian excise tax income up by 8% in first half of 2018

The Latvian excise tax income in the first half of 2019 has been 521 million euros, –an increase by 39 million euros, or 8.1% – compared to the respective period last year, showed data by the Latvian State Revenue Service.

Latvian PM: Most of freely available 2020 budget funds already earmarked

Discussing the 2020 Latvian national budget, Latvian prime minister Krišjānis Kariņš pointed out that its fiscal space is limited by previous decisions and that the expected losses of the Riga transport company will not permit raising wages and pensions nationally.

Corruption watchdog detains Ogre city mayor Helmanis

The Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has on Wednesday detained the mayor of central Latvian city of Ogre, Egils Helmanis, according to LETA news agency.

New members to Freeport of Riga Authority elected, despite criticism

The Riga City Council elected to the Board of the Freeport of Riga Authority, mayor Oļegs Burovs and councilman Sandris Bergmanis, despite heavy criticism of the latter for incompetence and lack of vision.

Italy loses government, coalition of right-wing, anti-establishment parties collapses

Italy has lost its government with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announcing resignation after the right-wing League party pushed for no-confidence motion to its own government.

Kaljulaid opposed to Estonian minister after police chief scandal

Alleging that Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme has violated the law by trying to sack top police chief, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has stated that the minister has no place in the government.

Planned Latvian economic cases’ court conceptually backed by government

The plan by the Latvian Ministry of Justice to establish a court of economic cases has on Tuesday, August 20, been supported by the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers.

Riga deputy mayor posts go to Harmony and independent politician

In the Riga City Council, deputy mayors have been elected with one post going to Anna Vladova from Harmony and the other – to Vadims Baraņņiks from the group of independent councilmen.

Newest comments