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Ceturtdiena 09.04.2020 | Name days: Valērija, Žubīte
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Latvian government submits to Saeima legislative draft on Riga City Council’s dismissal

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topical, Riga City Council, snap elections, Jānis Bordāns, Jānis Reirs, Juris Pūce, Ramona Petraviča, dismissal, SaeimaLatvia’s Cabinet of Ministers decided to submit to the Saeima the legislative draft developed by Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry on dismissal of Riga City Council.

Although Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča and Interior Affairs Minister Sandis Ģirģens both voted against, the majority of ministers supported the proposal to dismiss Riga City Council.

Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce explained there is sufficient reason to dismiss Riga City Council over systematically unresolved problems in waste management in Riga.

The minister noted that previous objections voiced by the State Chancellery have been taken into account when expanding the legislative draft’s annotation with additional explanations. Representatives of the State Chancellery admit the annotation does show signs of politicians taking recommendations into account.

At the same time, the government has decided to push the legislative draft quickly, urging the Saeima to organize an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, 18 December, to review this legislative draft.

Petraviča noted that she voted against the legislative draft on Riga City Council’s dismissal because nothing points to the city council being unable to handle waste management, which is something mentioned as the main argument in favour of the city council’s dismissal. Pūce, on the other hand, added that under current conditions there is no reasonable tool to resolve this situation.

Ģirģens wanted to know if Pūce has information that suggests Riga has troubles with waste management. The minister said waste management in Riga is organized specifically because there is a government order for it.

Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns admits Pūce has provided arguments in favour of Riga City Council’s dismissal, but whether or not arguments are 100% justified is for the Saeima to decide. Finance Minister Jānis Reirs added the legislative draft has been assessed and document-checking shows it is justified.

According to the legislative draft, its goal is preventing the situation when Riga City Council allows illegal activities and does not comply with the autonomous function outlined in the Law on Waste Management, the Law on Local Governments and other regulations – organization of waste management.

In the document’s annotation the ministry lists on 20 pages the municipality’s unaccomplished work in waste management. According to VARAM, violation of regulations and non-compliance with court rulings is grounds enough for the city council’s dismissal.

In accordance with the Law on Local Governments, when making the decision to dismiss a city council, the Cabinet of Ministers is to appoint an interim administration. This interim administration is to perform the city council’s functions and remain in power until the first day the new city council gathers for a meeting.

Read also: Snap elections in Riga may be postponed until March

As noted by the environment protection ministry, members of the interim administration are picked based on their previous experience in state administration, personal reputation and education.

The legislative draft mentions that if the Saeima votes in favour of Riga City Council’s dismissal, management over the interim administration may be entrusted to Environment Ministry’s state secretary Edvīns Balševics.


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