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Latvija in brief - 2012-09-20

Sep 19, 2012

The Jurmala City Council voted without objection on Sept. 17 to motion for confiscation of the historic Kemeri resort – the grandiose sanatorium/hotel and 12 land plots where curative mineral springs are located, reports LETA. The council will request its attorneys find the best legal avenues for the confiscation move, which is being done to preserve an object of cultural and historic significance and its natural resources – in the interests of the people. Mayor Gatis Truksnis pointed out that the complete lack of inertia, in not developing the property on the part of the owners-investors, is no excuse for such a landmark to waste away.

Several persons have been detained in connection with suspected corrupt practices by Riga City Council officials, said the Corruption Prevention Bureau head Jaroslavs Strelcenoks on Sept. 18, reports LETA. Strelcenoks refused to elaborate, nor did he reveal if anyone was under arrest. The Corruption Prevention Bureau has opened a criminal case over corrupt practices on the part of several Riga City Council officials. The bureau’s officers are investigating several leads at the moment and work is under way to obtain new evidence, said Corruption Prevention Bureau press officer Andris Vitenburgs. The Bureau’s officers searched Riga City Council’s Housing and Environment Department offices Monday evening. Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony Center) confirmed the office of Arija Stabina, a senior official at the Riga City Council’s Housing and Environment Department responsible for distribution of municipal apartments, was searched on Sept. 17. Usakovs said he did not know what Stabina was suspected of, adding that 2,800 residents received municipal apartments last year, including 150 who did not have to wait in line.

The Constitutional Rights Commission has concluded that Latvia, just like many other European countries do, should have a constitutional nucleus that Saeima cannot amend, as the commission’s head, European Court of Justice Judge Egils Levits said after a meeting with Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis on Sept. 17, reports LETA. The nucleus should cover the Constitutional existence of the country, its character and democratic system. The commission also concluded that Latvia’s Satversme (Constitution) belongs to that constitutional group whose “untouchable” nucleus is not mentioned specifically in any article of the Satversme, but is understood in and of itself. Therefore, the best option is a fuller Preamble that includes statements on the meaning and goals of the founding of the Latvian Republic, and perhaps the vision of future development. Levits believes that it will take some time for Latvian politicians to evaluate the commission’s conclusions, and to decide whether these conclusions should be taken into consideration. “This is a scientific opinion, and it is up to politicians whether to take it into consideration or not. I believe that it will take some time, because this is quite a detailed opinion,” explained Levits. He also said that the commission’s opinion should be discussed within society.

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