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Saeima decides: Riga City Council will be allowed to be elected for more than five years if dismissed

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Riga City Council, election, dismissal, term, committeeIn spite of opposition deputies’ objections and opposition from one coalition party, members of the ruling coalition adopted amendments to laws on Thursday, 19 December, allowing election of Riga City Council for a term of longer than five years in the event of its dismissal.

Four coalition parties, as well as non-party deputy Anda Čakša and two KPV LV members Artuss Kaimiņš and Aldis Blumbergs, voted in favour of amendments to the Law on Local Governments and Law on Elections of the Republic City Council and Municipality Council. One legislative draft received 52 votes and the other – 51 votes. The rest of the KPV LV party and opposition parties voted against aforementioned changes. Union of Greens and Farmers deputy Janīna Jalinska was the only one who abstained in the vote.

The aforementioned legislative drafts were included to the 19 December meeting of the Saeima. Coalition deputies called it an unprecedented situation and did not take into account the opinion of Public Administration and Local Government Committee.

After two-days of debates, Public Administration and Local Government Committee did not support amendments to the two aforementioned laws yesterday. However, stressing insufficient regulations in the Saeima Internal Order and the special case surrounding the legislative draft, members of the coalition reached a vote on viewing the legislative draft in the final reading, securing majority of votes.

Opposition deputies also criticized the coalition, stressing that members of the coalition ignore the law and basically usurp power. Deputies called the process a farce, admitting feeling shame over the situation in the parliament.

Deputy Viktors Valainis said the march of the majority of the coalition when viewing legislative drafts without the decision on their submission for approval in committees is evaluated not only in the Saeima but in other institutions’ as well. The politician did not mention this directly, but a certain number of Saeima deputies have the right to challenge laws in the Constitutional Court.

The deputy stressed there will be a very large difference for the term of the newly-elected Riga City Council. He said it is important to not organize elections based on coalition parties’ ratings.

Deputy Daniels Pavļuts was positive about the ongoing discussion of procedural topics. The politician said that by preserving existing regulation, Riga City Council would be managed by administrators for approximately 15 months, which is not a good practice in the minds of coalition politicians. Pavļuts also invited bringing clarity with law amendments in regards to the order within which snap elections are to be organized in Riga.

Opposition member Aldis Gobzems mentioned several cases when sports results are cancelled over procedures. He stressed the coalition needs to comply with the rules within which topics are reviewed in the Saeima.

The politician said that, considering the ruling politicians’ decision to review legislative drafts the committee did not submit, it is necessary to relieve decision-making further. Gobzems said in this case Saeima speaker Ināra Mūrniece could make an announcement from Saeima building’s stairs that something has been decided, but in reality was only told to her by heads of coalition factions.

Deputy Sergejs Dolgopolovs said the energy «Pavļuts-Pūces tandem» is putting into resolving this matter should instead be diverted towards sorting the waste management sector. This energy could be used instead to ‘make sure there is no waste in Latvia’, said the politician. He said every such legislative draft only ruins Latvia’s reputation.

Deputy Ivars Zariņš said this legislative draft should be viewed by the Constitutional Court.

As it is known, with KPV LV representative voting together with the opposition, Saeima’s Public Administration and Local Government Committee did not support amendments to the law regarding changes the snap election regulations in the event of municipal council’s dismissal.

Red also: Burovs picked as Honour to Serve Riga candidate list leader in snap elections

Amendments are intended to set that in the event of dismissal of the city council if there are more than 24 months left until the next municipal elections, new elections are organized and the new city council is elected for the remaining term of the dismissed city council. If there are nine to 24 months left until the next elections, the new city council is elected for the remaining term of the dismissed city council and a full four-year term on top of that. This solution was offered to ensure more efficient use of finances in the event of organization of new elections, the annotation mentions.


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