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Harmony’s faction splits as party tries electing Riga’s vice-mayor

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvian political party Harmony’s faction in Riga City Council split after the election of a new mayor. This makes it unclear if the ruling coalition there still has a majority, according to information from LETA.

During an extraordinary meeting of Riga City Council on 30 May, deputies elected Honour to Serve Riga member Dainis Turlais, who replaced Harmony’s leader Nils Ušakovs as Mayor of Riga. All 32 members of the ruling coalition voted in favour of Turlais.

Initially it was planned to also elect the second vice-mayor in Riga, considering that Oļegs Burovs announced had previously announced his decision to step down.

The name of the second vice-mayoral candidate remains unknown. However, unofficial information states that it could be Harmony’s representative Sandris Bergmanis. However, vice-mayor’s election was postponed to a later date.

However, LETA found out that Harmony’s faction in Riga City Council has split over Bergmanis’ candidacy.

Information from LETA states that

Four members were excluded from Riga City Council’s Harmony faction in the evening of 30 May – Vice-Mayor Vadims Baraņņiks and deputies Valērijs Petrovs, Aleksejs Rosļikovs and Vitālijs Dubovs. It is also possible they may be excluded from the party as well.

This means the ruling coalition in Riga City Council no longer has 32 votes – only 28. This is as much as the opposition has. One of the deputies of the opposition sometimes supports the opinion of the ruling coalition.

It also became known that Burovs has suddenly changed his mind in regards to stepping down as vice-mayor.

As ex-mayor Nīls Ušakovs told public broadcaster LTV, the aforementioned Harmony members had refused to vote in favour of the vice-mayor candidate and for Burovs’ election to Riga Freeport authority.

After consulting with partners from Honour to Serve Riga, it was decided to exclude said deputies from Harmony’s faction in Riga City Council.

Ušakovs stressed that it is planned to decide on stripping aforementioned city council deputies of their posts.

Vadims Baraņņiks is Vice-Mayor of Riga. He is responsible for part of the capital’s companies. Rosļikovs is the head of Riga City Council’s City Development Committee. Petrovs served as consultant in several municipal companies. Dubovs has held posts in Riga Central Market. Andris Ameriks, leader of Honour to Serve Riga, adds that the meeting for the dismissal of aforementioned people from their posts could take place 3 June.

«Colleagues have acted in a disorganized manner. And they were punished for this. This is the right thing to do, because there is no way to work under conditions of extortion,» said Riga’s Mayor Dainis Turlais, commenting on the situation in Harmony’s faction.

Based on what Turlais has said it can be implied that he has spoken with opposition parties in regards to possible cooperation. Parties have said, according to him, that they are open to cooperation opportunities.


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