Ušakovs says he wants to start in Riga City Council snap elections


Member of the European Parliament and ex-Mayor of Riga Nils Ušakovs says he is prepared to start in snap elections in Riga if they are organized, as confirmed by Harmony chairman Jānis Urbanovičs.

When asked how the party views such a decision from Ušakovs, Urbanovičš said he will not comment the situation within the party. «We will pull through,» he added.

When asked if Harmony could start in snap elections alongside Honour to Serve Riga, Urbanovičs said the party neither has such plans nor will such plans appear in the future.

Anonymous sources close to Ušakovs told LETA that he could participate in snap elections if the Saeima adopts law amendments that allow newly elected city council to continue working until the next scheduled municipal elections.

LETA could not contact Ušakovs to get a comment.

On 6 December Saeima submitted to committees amendments composed by coalition deputies that allow for electing municipal council for more than five years if snap elections are organized.

Amendments were submitted by representatives of all government-forming parties represented in the Saeima, deputy Daniels Pavļuts, Jānis Dombrava, Ainars Latkovskis, Juta Strīķe and Ēriks Pucens.

Amendments provide a new order if a city council is dissolved when there are only nine to 24 months left until that city council’s term. It is expected to make it so that the term of a newly-elected council will be made up of both the remaining term of the previous council and the full four-year term after snap elections.

More than nine months are left until the end of Riga City Council’s term and less than 24 months until the next elections. This means proposed changes would be in force if Riga City Council were to be dismissed now.

According to politicians, the proposed regulation would help reduce possible administration term because the one left until the next elections is too long (15 months). A municipal council is an institution that represents the political will of municipal residents. One of the main qualities of a municipal administration is that it is elected, deputies say.

They are confident this approach will contribute to sensible use of finances.

According to them, changes will also secure protection of society’s interests in cases when the incumbent city council deputies lose their authority due to abuse of their delegated power.
The annotation to amendments mentions that there have been consultations with Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry.

Deputies reference the rulings from the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court, as well as the concept for Local Government Law presented by State President Egils Levits in 2003 and others.

As it is known, Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has consulted with experts about possible terms for snap elections in Riga City Council. One of the possible dates mentioned thus far is 22 February.

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