RIGA - If current Riga City Council is dissolved, the next one can be elected for a term of more than five years under new legislation Saeima adopted today despite strong objections from opposition lawmakers and also one coalition party.
The amendments to the Law on Local Governments and the Law on on Elections of the Republic City Council and Municipality Council that changed the regulation for snap municipal elections, was supported by four coalition parties, as well as independent MP Anda Caksa, as well as two MPs of KPV LV - Artuss Kaimins and Aldis Blumbergs.
The rest of the KPV LV group and opposition MPs voted against the amendments.
The aforementioned bills were included in the agenda of today's Saeima meeting on the grounds of an "unprecedented situation", cited by the ruling coalition, and taking into the consideration the position of the Saeima Public Administration and Local Governments Committee.
After two days of debating, the Public Administration and Local Governments Committee on Wednesday rejected the draft amendments proposed to the Law on Local Governments and the Law on on Elections of the Republic City Council and Municipality Council. However, citing "insufficient regulation" in the Saeima Rules of Procedure and an "unprecedented situation" with this legislation, the ruling coalition today got the bills included in the parliament's agenda and passed them in the final reading.
Opposition MPs harshly criticized the coalition's actions, claiming sheer violations of laws and usurpation of power, calling the adoption of the bills a farce.
MP Ivars Zarins (Harmony) said the bills should be put before the Constitutional Court.
On December 18, the Public Administration and Local Governments Committee rejected the draft amendments proposed to the Law on Local Governments and the Law on on Elections of the Republic City Council and Municipality Council before their final reading in parliament.
The draft legislation provides new rules for the situation where the existing city council is dissolved when its term ends in nine to 24 months. Under the proposed regulation, the term of the newly elected city council would include the remaining term of the dissolved council and the full four-year term of the new council.
The term of the current Riga City Council ends in more than nine months and less than 24 months, so the new provisions could be applied if the current city council is dissolved and new one elected.
The new regulation would allow to elect a new city council for a term of more than five years in case the current city council is dissolved and a snap municipal election held in the city.
As reported, the Latvian parliament at an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday sent a bill on dissolution of the Riga City Council to the Budget and Financial (Taxation) Committee for revision.
The bill provides that the Riga City Council should be dissolved because the local authority has repeatedly failed to fulfill one of its functions - to ensure the provision of waste management services in the city.