Riga heads for early municipal elections

Riga heads for early municipal elections

The City Council will be officially dismissed on 24 February

For the third time in its modern history, the Latvian parliament has voted to dismiss an elected and ruling City Council.

Last week, in a landmark move, the Saeima (Latvia’s legislature) voted 62 to 22 to dissolve the currently governing municipal council of the country’s capital. The law adopted by parliamentarians will be officially adopted after the Latvian president signs it into law on 24 February, thus effectively ending the current term of the Riga City Council.

Months of tension and debates

The Latvian government was forced to turn its attention to municipal politics in the capital a few months ago when it had to declare a state of emergency due to issues with local waste management contracts.  

If you’re interested in finding out more about the ruling of the Latvian competition council, and how it caused chaos for the local administration, don’t forget to check out our previous article on the subject.

Ever since the ruling in September, both parliament and citizens have been engaged in a heated debate as to what to do with the capital’s governing body. The waste management crisis turned into a political crisis with the ruling majority in the City Council fracturing and parties being thrown into disarray.

An interim administration will be set up upon the dismissal of the governing body in the Latvian capital. It will be headed by Edvins Balševics, State Secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.

The caretaker local government will be tasked with keeping the city of Riga running until new elections are held. Current estimates put 25 April 2020 as the potential date for snap local elections in the Latvian capital.

Until then, the interim administration will be financed by the already adopted Riga Municipal Budget and will be responsible for keeping local institutions operational until a new ruling coalition is formed.



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