RIGA - The Constitutional Court concluded on Friday that merging Skulte County with Saulkrasti Region was unconstitutional, while attaching Tinuzi County and the Town of Ikskile to Ogre Region was in line with the Constitution.
These are the first two complaints against the new Law on Administrative Territories and Populated Areas to be reviewed by the Constitutional Court.
The decision on merging Ikskile and Tinuzi County with Ogre Region was taken by the Cabinet of Ministers, while the merger of Skulte County with Saulkrasti Region was approved at the last minute when the legislation was being debated in Saeima.
The Constitutional Court assessed the compliance of the mergers with Articles 1 and 101 of the Constitution as well as with the relevant provisions of the European Charter of Local Self-Governments.
Ikskile Town Council representative, attorney Matiss Skinkis told the Constitutional Court that the Administrative Territorial Reform should have been considered from residents' viewpoint as the main purpose of a local government was to represent the interests of local residents. He also objected to the process of review of the law in Saeima.
Attorney Artis Stucka, representing Limbazi Region Council (Skulte County was part of Limbazi Region until the reform) argued that Limbazi Region Council's opinion had not been taken into consideration during the work on the Administrative Territorial Reform, and said that Skulte County was very important to the development of Limbazi Region. The reform will also affect Limbazi Region's opportunities to apply for the European Union's co-financing for the region's projects.
Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Arturs Toms Pless (For Development/For) responded by saying that the reform, important to the development and future of the entire Latvia, could not ensure that each local governments' interests and wants be taken into account.
Likewise, Saeima representative, attorney Lauris Liepa claimed that the Constitution had not been violated during the review of the Administrative Territorial Law in Saeima. At the time, Saeima had every right to hold online meetings on the e-Saeima platform as it was impossible to organize meetings in person due to the epidemiological situation at the time, he explained.