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Sunday 19.01.2020 | Name days: Alnis, Andulis
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«Their hands are dirty.» Opposition in Riga refuses to work with Harmony and HSR

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RURefusing to cooperate with deputies of parties of the ruling coalition and accusing them of problems in the capital city, the majority of the opposition in Riga City Council say they see no way to take over power in the municipality. Nevertheless, political party Latvijas attīstībai theoretically considers doing that without involvement from coalition politicians.

National Alliance «All for Latvia – for Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK» faction leader Nauris Puntulis said the party remains adamant against working together with Harmony. «Their hands are so dirty we cannot cooperate with people that will likely no longer work in Harmony,» said Puntilis, commenting on the possibility of working with ex-Harmony city council deputies.

The National Alliance also refuses to work with Honour to Serve Riga, saying that «across the years this party has been Harmony’s partner and their ‘contribution’ is no smaller than Harmony’s,» he added.

He concluded that currently the opposition has no options of taking over power in Riga City Council without working with deputies that were excluded from Harmony.

Vilnis Ķirsis, head of Unity’s faction in Riga City Council, said he is not prepared to cooperate with HSR or Harmony. On top of that, none of these factions have proposed any proposals for negotiations, added the deputy.

According to Ķirsis, Riga City Council is in a chaotic state, because «big brothers have left and the younger brothers are at each other’s throats, fighting over inheritance». Ķirsis believes it is necessary to wait until both conflicting parties have sorted themselves out.

The politician added that he plans to meet with other opposition parties to discuss future steps.

New Conservative Party’s faction leader Jānis Ozols is of a similar opinion. «We can see the following situation – spiders fighting in a jar. We have nothing in common with them regardless which one of them is in charge,» he said.

He said the 32 coalition members in Riga City Council are a voting machine, which is why it would be naïve to expect any of them to get better.

Ozols believes the people who have left the faction remain HSR and Harmony’s «business partners» with common interests. This is why, according to Ozols, it will be easier for them to work with those parties than with NCP.

Ozols says it is necessary to survey the situation and discuss it with other opposition parties.

Meanwhile, Latvijas attīstībai faction leader Viesturs Zeps says what is currently happening in the city council opens the way for the opposition to form a new coalition in Riga.

Zeps says coalition is expected to give signals to explain what is happening and how the opposition should act. «Because of external reasons Nils Ušakovs and Andris Ameriks will no longer be in the city council in July. This means the centre of power will change. This is an opportunity for the opposition to stop barking and start working together,» he said, adding that this is not about uniting with the existing coalition but forming a new one altogether.

He explained that theoretically the opposition may have an option to form a coalition in Riga City Council to match the coalition in the Saeima. This would offer greater opportunities to «pull Riga out of the mire», he said.

According to Zeps, the opposition should unite and hold no-confidence vote to the newly-elected Mayor of Riga Dainis Turlais and instead elect someone else. «We are focused on cooperation, but it is nonetheless clear cooperation with Harmony and Honour to Serve Riga is not possible. Opposition parties should use this opportunity,» he said.

As for the four deputies excluded from Harmony, Zeps said there will be no cooperation with them. «If they support proposals from the opposition, there is no way for us to prevent them from doing that. However, there is no room for cooperation,» said the politician.

At the same time, he says everyone in the city council is waiting to see what comes of the dispute between coalition parties.

As previously reported, Harmony’s faction in Riga City Council has unexpectedly split after Dainis Turlais was elected Mayor of Riga. Four members have been excluded from Harmony’s faction for «serious violations». These fore are Vice-Mayor of Riga Vadims Baraņņiks and deputies Valērijs Petrovs, Aleksejs Rosļikovs and Vitālijs Dubovs.


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