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Wednesday 08.04.2020 | Name days: Dana, Dans, Danute, Edgars
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Environment Protection Minister to request Riga City Council’s dismissal

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 Juris Pūce, Oļegs Burovs, Riga City Council, dismissal, waste management

Environment Protection Minister Juris Pūce (L) and Riga Mayor Oļegs Burovs

Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has decided to request dismissal of Riga City Council because according to the ministry the municipal administration has failed to perform one of its autonomous functions – provide carrying of household waste.

This was announced by minister Juris Pūce at a press-conference on Friday, 6 December.

He also said: «I don’t feel happy having to submit such a decision project to the Cabinet of Ministers for review.»

In response to Riga City Council’s inability to settle waste management matters, the ministry made several requests to the city council to provide explanations as to how the local administration plans to resolve the situation, but no answers were received, said Pūce.

He also said that instead of sorting the waste management situation, the city council has spent the last several months in political games, position swapping and discussions as to who should perform management of shares.

«Having noticed a threat to rule of law and democracy, I have to react and prevent this threat,» said the minister, explaining his reasons for wanting the city council dismissed.

The Law on Local Governments outlines more than 20 autonomous functions. One of them is organizing utilities for residents, including management of household waste regardless of where the residential fund is located on a property.

Because autonomous functions are outlined in the law, non-performance of them is one of four reasons that may serve as justified grounds for city council dismissal.

The ministry’s proposed decision project will have to be viewed by the Cabinet of Ministers and then by the Saeima. The city council is considered dismissed the moment the Saeima votes for it.

When adopting the law on the city council’s dismissal, the Saeima them approves an interim administration and sets the term for new city council elections. If less than 15 months are left until the next city council elections, election of a new city council cannot be organized. The next municipal elections are set to take place on the first Saturday of June 2021.

An interim administration performs functions outlined in the law and remains in office until a newly-elected city council starts working, the law states.

Riga City Council has 60 deputies. The current city council consists of representatives from six political parties: Unity, For Latvia’s Development, Harmony, Honour to Serve Riga, New Conservative Party and the National Alliance.

Since the elections, eight deputies have separated from their political parties. Now they serve as independent deputies in the city council. Independent Deputies Faction unites four former Harmony members and For Riga! bloc has two excluded New Conservative Party members and one For Latvia’s Development member. Independent deputy Baiba Broka works together with the independent bloc.

Problems with waste management started in Riga in summer, when Riga City Council and Llc Getliņi Eko signed a contract worth EUR 683.3 million for public-private partnership in waste management. Llc CREB Rīga was chosen the winner. This company consists of two service providers – Clean R and Eco Baltia vide. According to the private-public partnership process, the winner of the tender was to provide waste management services in Riga for the next 20 years.


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