RIGA - Deciding which political party will be in charge of the the Riga City Council's education, culture and sports committee and communications and transport committee was among the most difficult agreements the city's new coalition has had to reach so far, the presumptive Riga mayor, Martins Stakis (Development/For/Progressives), said in an interview to Latvian Radio.
Stakis noted that transport infrastructure is one of the capital city's greatest issues inherited from the previous ruling coalition. Furthermore, infrastructure development is closely connected with the city's ability to successfully absorb EU funding, which makes this issue even more important.
As for the necessity to shorten the waiting time for places in kindergartens, there are clear steps the new coalition has to take to deal with the problem, Stakis said. First of all, it is necessary to prepare preschool teachers, which currently are in short supply. To attract people to these jobs it is necessary to raise the teachers' wages.
Stakis also believes that closer cooperation is needed with private preschool institutions and other partners.
Asked about the creation of the third position of vice-mayor, Stakis said that this was a matter of the coalition's stability.
"It is important to me that we run this marathon in a good pace, helping and not tripping up each other. I need a stable coalition of 39 votes," Stakis said.
As reported, four political groups represented on the new Riga City Council have succeeded in forming a coalition. The alliance of Development/For and the Progressives (APP), which won the August 29 municipal elections, has formed the coalition with New Unity, the New Conservative Party, the National Alliance/Latvian Association of Regions.