Regional reform debate under way in Latvia

Saeima deputies returned to the legislative cliff face March 11 for a fourth day of debate on the government’s regional administrative reform plans.

With three days of debate already behind them, there are still plenty of items to get through on the parliamentary agenda dating from March 5, with opposition members from the Greens and Farmers Union and Harmony parties, plus a handful of independent deputies, putting up dogged resistance to the government’s plans.

Wednesday’s session got underway at 10:00, but deputies took a half hour break at 11:30.

The changes provide for the creation of 40 municipalities in time for the 2021 local elections instead of the current 119 local government districts. The government argues this will make for a more efficient and rational system of local government. Critics argue that rural districts will lose their voices and autonomy, with power concentrated in urban centers.

Latvian Radio reported that the debate is already the longest of reent years with a total of 27 hours and counting, including breaks, to date, easily outstripping last year’s 25-hour, 2-day budget debate.

On the first day of the bill, MEPs spent about 11 hours at work, while on the second they spent about eight hours on the bill. The same amount of time was spent yesterday.

Today, at the beginning of day 4, MEPs still had more than 230 proposals to get through. In the first three days, MEPs were able to deal with only 81 of the 316 proposals.

 

LSM.LV

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