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Ceturtdiena 27.02.2020 | Name days: Līva, Līvija, Andra

Mayoral candidate in Riga says he will not turn against ex-mayor Nils Ušakovs

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Dainis Turlais

Mayoral candidate in Riga from Honour to Serve Riga (HSR) Dainis Turlais says he will not turn against ex-mayor Nils Ušakovs «with a single bad word», said the politician at an extraordinary meeting of Riga City Council.

Although the mayor to come after Ušakovs would be allowed to turn against him in court and demand responsibility for past scandals, Turlais said «the next mayor is not obligated to turn against Ušakovs».

It should be said that Turlais was picked as mayoral candidate by Ušakovs. No other candidate has been proposed so far.

Corruption Committee’s chairman with weak accomplishments

In response to opposition deputy Viļnis Ķirsis’ comment that Turlais was in charge of the Security, Order and Corruption Assessment Affairs Committee for ten years without any major accomplishments, especially considering how all the biggest scandals in Riga City Council had taken place in this period of time, the mayoral candidate said that as head of the committee he should take «a reasonable amount of responsibility’ for what happened. Turlais said, however, it is impossible to guarantee the city council is 100% free of any violations.

In regards to the fact that 46 fictive employees were discovered in an audit in the city council’s capital association, Turlais promised to condemn such activities. Nevertheless, he still delegated the responsibility to investigate such cases to law enforcement institutions. Moreover – the head of the anti-corruption committee admits he has only glanced over the audit’s results.

Professional family ties in city council’s capital associations

When told that nearly half of employees in Riga Tourism Development Bureau (RTDB) are members of Harmony and HSR, Turlais agreed that such a situation is unacceptable. But even here Turlais does not offer any promises to change management principles. This includes situations when several members of the same family – mother, wife, sons and daughters – work in the same capital association. Turlais once again responded evasively, saying that such situations should left to other institutions to investigate.

When asked how he views the use of resources in the past ten years, Turlais says: «I cannot claim everything was done well. I don’t think anyone present here can.» He mentioned that it is not line nothing has been accomplished. At the same time, Turlais added that work so far lacked reasonable planning. This particularly applies to plans for bridge renovations.

Turlais admits he is not ashamed of his Russian military pension. He adds he would be proud if it was larger.

Previous events

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.

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