RIGA - During the upcoming local government elections, Sarmite Elerte will be Unity's candidate for Riga mayor, as the party's board agreed during a meeting last night.
The party's leader Solvita Aboltina told reporters that Unity's board had unanimously supported Elerte's candidacy. The party's team and leader for the elections in Riga will be very important in eliminating the current problems in the city, added Aboltina.
"Riga has to be united with the entire Latvia. Leftist populists are trying to pit Riga against Latvia, splitting society. We have to give Riga back to Latvia, combine the forces of the government and Riga City Council for the development of the entire Latvia," said Elerte.
"Riga has an enormous potential. It must become a key center of Northern Europe, where growth will be based on education, creativity and smart production," emphasized Elerte.
Unity will have a very strong and professional team for the local government elections, said Elerte, adding that Unity would urge the other center-to-right parties to unite for their common goal.
Aboltina said that interests of a large part of voters were being ignored in Riga at the moment, and the current political course pursued by the Riga City Council, led by Harmony Center, is unacceptable to a large part of Latvian society.
Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) also stressed that there were many pressing problems that would have to be solved in Riga in order to achieve financial stability. The policies of Harmony Center, on the other hand, are based on populism and spending more than the city earns, he said.
Current Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony Center) is happy that Unity has found its Riga mayor candidates, and believes that the pre-election campaign will be ''merry and interesting''.
“I am honored that Unity has selected such a candidate. I am impatient to hear Elerte's vision on Riga's future,” Usakovs told LETA.
Unity will present the main ideas of its election program for Riga during the party's Riga conference on December 12.
Elerte was editor in chief at newspaper "Diena" from 1992 to 2008. In 2010 she was elected to the 10th Saeima from Unity's ticket and became the culture minister. Elerte also ran in the 11th Saeima elections, but was not elected to the parliament. At the moment, Elerte is Dombrovskis' advisor on national identity, civic society and integration affairs.