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Tuesday 16.10.2018 | Name days: Daiga, Dinija
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Minister orders Riga City Council to cancel controversial internal rules

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvian Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Kaspars Gerhards has signed the order to cancel amendments adopted by Riga City Council, as confirmed by the minister’s representative Santa Vaļuma.

The amendments in question introduce rules for the city council’s internal orders, limiting the number of questions members are allowed to ask to three.

The minister’s representative said that Gerhards signed the order on Monday, 26 March. The order was sent to Riga City Council on the same day.

Amendments are halted and the order comes into force the moment it is published in Latvijas Vēstnesis. As noted by Vaļuma, the order may be published tomorrow, which means members of Riga City Council will be able to ask an unlimited number of questions during the next meeting.

The only way for Riga City Council to appeal the order is by turning to the Constitution Court.

The minister had previously told Riga City Council that the adopted amendments are anti-democratic and that they deny members of the council to fully participate in meetings and decision-making processes. The amendments in question were not coordinated with Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry, and Riga City Council had to cancel the new rules at the 23 March meeting. This was not done, however.

The matter regarding changes was not discussed at the Friday meeting because Riga City Council had sent a letter to the ministry. In it, the municipal administration explained why amendments should not be cancelled. In spite of the arguments presented by Riga City Council, the minister has ordered a full halt of the rule in question.

BNN had previously reported that Riga City Council approved at the beginning of March amendments to its internal order, limiting the right of all deputies to ask questions during meetings.

The approved amendments provide that deputies are allowed to ask no more than three questions each during meetings. In addition, deputies are allowed to take only one break during reviews of different matters. Rapporteurs will have the right to a ‘final word’, but for no more than three minutes.

The aforementioned amendments were proposed by members of the ruling coalition in Riga City Council. Members of the opposition, on the other hand, believe they limit freedom of speech and principles of democracy.


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