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Latvian government to decide on Riga City Council’s dismissal on 17 December

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Riga City Council, snap elections, government, Latvia, amendments

Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš

Latvia’s government plans to decide on Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce’s initiated Riga City Council dismissal on Tuesday, 17 December, said Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to LNT programme 900 seconds.

If the government supports movement towards Riga City Council’s dismissal, the final decision will be for the Saeima to make.

«If someone dismisses Riga City Council, it will not be because someone from the side wants to do it but because the city council cannot do anything on its own,» said the prime minister.

At the same time, he admits the matter of changing the law to allow electing a new Riga City Council for more than five years remains open.

He admits the question is whether or not the established order should be changed, because many believe there is only Riga City Council to consider. «This is an open matter,» said Kariņš.

As it is known, Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has decided to initiate Riga City Council’s dismissal because the minister believes the municipality’s administration has failed to provide one of its main autonomous functions – provide the carrying of household waste, Pūce said at a press-conference.

The ministry’s developed legislative draft needs to be viewed by the Cabinet of Ministers and then the Saeima. The city council is considered dismissed once the Saeima has voted on this.

Read also: Committee’s talks about electing Riga City Council for more than five years; decision postponed

Currently, now that there are less than 15 months left until the next elections, no snap elections can be organized. The next scheduled municipal elections are set to take place on the first Saturday of June 2021.

Nevertheless, Saeima has received legislative drafts to allow electing a new Riga City Council for longer than five years.

Amendments have been submitted by representatives of all coalition parties represented in the Saeima.

KPV LV faction, meanwhile, has said it has a different opinion about the legitimacy of possible snap elections and if now is the best time for elections.

«We agree there has been chaos in Riga City Council for a long time. But there is a similar situation in Ventspils, too, for example. This is why we do not agree snap elections would be legitimate and deputies are elected to five years,» says the faction’s head.

He admits now is not the best time for elections, knowing that after one and a half years there will be scheduled elections anyway.


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