Kirsis becomes Mayor of Riga

  • 2023-08-17
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Vilnis Kirsis (New Unity) will hold the post of the Riga Mayor.

He was elected to the post on Thursday with the votes of 33 members of the new coalition. Meanwhile, 17 councilors voted against him.

Votes against him came from Harmony, the Progressices and Latvia's Union of Russians. Miroslavs Kods' (Progressives) voting slip was invalid, while nine lawmakers did not participate in the meeting.

As reported, former mayor Martins Stakis (Progressives/For) resigned and the Riga City Council coalition broke up as relations between the two coalition parties - the New Unity and the Progressives - deteriorated.

The new coalition will no longer include the Progressives. In addition to the existing coalition parties - the New Unity, National Alliance/Latvia's Association of Regions and the Code for Riga - it includes representatives of Honor to Serve Riga and For Latvia's Development parties, some independent councilors and lawmakers from For movement, former partner of Progressives/For.

With the formation of the new Riga City Council coalition, the New Unity will be in charge of three committees, while the other partners will each have one, according to a memorandum of cooperation signed by the partners on Thursday.

The New Unity will be in charge of the City Development Committee, the Traffic and Transport Committee and the Finance and Administrative Affairs Committee, National Alliance/Latvia's Association of Regions will be in charge of the City Property Committee, Honor to Serve Riga will be in charge of the Social Affairs Committee, the Code for Riga - the Committee on Security, Public Order and Prevention of Corruption, For Latvia's Development - the Housing and Environment Committee, while Movement For will be responsible for the Education, Culture and Sport Committee.

The Riga mayor will have two vice mayors instead of three.

The new coalition has also agreed on the general principles of cooperation. They are committed to building a competent City Council, setting an example of solidarity by example and thus reducing divisions in society and the gap between local government and the society.

They also want to build relations with each other, the public, the media and the opposition on the principles of collegiality and to communicate the decisions of the City Council in a fair, open and reasoned manner.

By focusing on solving Riga's economic, economic and social issues for the benefit of its citizens, each partner will maintain its political independence and inform in a timely manner its position in case of a difference of opinion.

Addressing the Councilors, Kirsis underscored that his value system has remained unchanged over the years - zero tolerance for corruption and accountability for his words and deeds.

Speaking about the priorities of his work, Kirsis said that the most important will be the improvement of the street infrastructure, the completion of existing major construction projects and the implementation of new projects.

The second most important job is to promote the construction of new housing, as this is the reason why the population of Riga has decreased in recent years and is currently around 600,000 inhabitants.

The third key area for action will be investment and education. Education is also an important investment in people to enable them to work productively.

Kirsis was born in 1980. He has obtained a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Economics from the University of Latvia.

In 2011, he ran for the 11th Saeima elections on the list of Zatlers Reform Party and became the Parliamentary Secretary at the Economics Ministry, and in 2013 he became a member of the 11th Saeima with a soft mandate.

In 2014, Kirsis also ran for the 12th Saeima elections on the ticket of the Unity and was elected, but in 2017 he resigned from the Saeima due to his election to the Riga City Council.

In 2020, in accordance with the law on the dissolution of the Riga City Council, Kirsis left his position as a member of the Riga City Council and became an advisor to the Foreign Minister on economic and energy issues. Later, he ran for the Riga City Council in the extraordinary elections on the New Unity's ticket and was elected, and was also elected Vice Mayor of the Riga City Council.