During their meeting with Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Kaspars Gerhards, members of Unity’s Saeima faction concluded that there is still a lot of work left on the road towards enhancing democratic principles in municipal administrations.
Unity members urged the minister to immediately cancel the new rules adopted by Riga City Council that limit deputies’ rights to ask questions during meetings, as reported by the party.
«Democracy is a value that cannot be approached on a surface level or selectively. Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry, regardless of opposition deputies’ political beliefs or sympathy, has to ensure compliance with democratic principles in the work performed by municipal administrations and put an end to rules that limit deputies’ rights,» says chairman of Unity’s Saeima faction Hosams Abu Meri.
He says opposition deputies represent a considerable portion of residents. However, after listening to opinions of several municipal deputies, it was concluded that there are municipalities the leaders of which consider themselves kings, ignoring basic principles of democracy and denying deputies the right to represent their voters in an equal manner, says Abu Meri.
«The ministry’s actions in certain cases we consider correct. We should continue active work in order to make sure all municipalities are treated equally,» says the deputy.
Unity’s deputies also concluded during the meeting that the biggest difficulties with ensuring compliance with democratic principles are found in Riga municipality. This is why the party asks Gerhards to immediately cancel Riga City Council’s new rules for internal order.
Chairman of Unity’s Riga City Council faction Vilnis Ķirsis says that unlike many other municipalities that have already begun reviewing evaluating regulations that put an unjustified amount of restrictions on deputies’ rights to ask questions, Riga City Council refuses to change this situation.
«If Riga City Council continues systematically ignoring the ministry’s warnings and circumventing orders, the minister will have to demonstrate decisive action and dismiss Riga City Council chairman Nils Ušakovs and dissolve the entire city council,» said Ķirsis.