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Monday 17.02.2020 | Name days: Konstance, Donats
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Territorial reform in Latvia may «cull» 56% of municipal deputies

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOnce the municipal territorial reform in Latvia is over, the total number of municipal deputies in Latvia may drop from 1 614 to 705, which is 56% less than what the country has now, according to amendments to the Law on Elections to Municipal Councils announced at the state secretaries meeting.

Based on the upcoming administrative territorial reform, Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has developed amendments to the aforementioned law. According to the ministry’s offer, the number of deputies could decline by 909.

The current system of municipal administrations consists of 1 614 deputies from 119 municipalities. The territorial reform intends to reduce the number of municipalities to 36.

«Considering the aforementioned, it is necessary to amend legislative regulations and ensure the number of municipal deputies meets the size of municipalities and is enough to ensure optimal ratio of political powers so that municipalities are able to make decisions in accordance with their functions,» the ministry explains.

Amendments are needed to also ensure competitiveness for the elected deputies and separate decision-making power from executive power.

The ministry believes that to ensure efficient function of decision-making power it is necessary to review the number of municipal deputies allowed to be elected by establishing two main criteria.

This means the number of deputies should be such to ensure balanced representation of politicians and ensure efficient operations of municipal committees in resolving different matters.

Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry’s proposed amendments state that in municipalities that will have up to 30 000 residents after the reform would have 15 deputies, whereas municipalities with 30 001 to 60 000 residents would have 19 municipal deputies.

Municipalities with 60 001 to 100 000 residents would have 23 municipal council deputies, whereas municipalities with more than 100 001 residents would have 25 municipal deputies. This will not apply to Riga.

According to the ministry’s estimates, reduction of the number of municipal deputies by 909 people would help save EUR 1.05 million in budget funds.

Read also: State Audit bashes Latvian municipalities for irresponsible loans and massive projects

These estimates are based on the hourly rate, considering the limit outlined in Law on Remuneration of Officials and Employees of State and Local Government Authorities, of EUR 6.4. «It is assumed that an average municipal deputy works 15 hours a month,» the ministry explains.

It is planned that the current municipal councils will continue working until the first meeting of the 2021-elected councils.

Environment Protection Ministry reminds that the 2021 municipal elections are to be organized within borders of new municipalities. Current municipalities have to organize joint meetings with merging municipalities to discuss formalities.

Among the topics they have to discuss is the formation of a municipal election commission. If no commission is composed by 1 December 2020, this task will be performed by Latvia’s Central Election Commission.


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