Puce dismisses Usakovs as Riga mayor

Regional Development and Environmental Protection Minister Juris Puce (For Development/For) has given the order to dismiss Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony) from his post, accroding the official government gazette Latvijas Vestnesis reported last night writes LETA.

Puce made the order due to the many violations established in Usakovs’ oversight of the Rigas Satiksme municipal public transportation company. Usakovs has violated various laws and regulations, according to the ministry.

Puce’s order can be appealed at the Administrative District Court within 30 days.

Asked to comment the reasoning for his decision, Puce said that he must react accordingly to the ”threats towards rule of law and democracy which Usakovs’ activities as Riga mayor pose”.

”The dismissal of Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs is necessary to ensure the interests of the public, that the state defends the interests and rights of its residents, as well as rule of law, and reacts to serious violations committed by public servants. The dismissal was also necessary to prevent further violations,” he said.

Usakovs, who is serving his third term in office, will now become a regular Riga City Council member.

As reported, the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry has come to the conclusion that as the authority in charge of Rigas Satiksme municipal transport company, the city council has violated a number of laws.

Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony) was asked to provide explanations about these violations by March 28. Last week he sent the ministry a reply in which he claims to have refuted all the allegations made by Puce.

Usakovs also called Puce’s request for explanation politicized and weak from a legal standpoint.

Meanwhile, Puce indicated that he is not surprised by Usakovs political remark.

Rigas Satiksme has been involved in several corruption scandals in recent months.

Recently, Usakovs and Riga Vice Mayor Andris Ameriks (Honor to Serve Riga) announced that they will be running in the upcoming European Parliament elections in May, with media speculating that this is being done so that both could obtain immunity from possible criminal prosecution.

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