Filth overflowing

  • 2005-03-23
Allegations of vote buying and bribery have tarnished Latvia's municipal election, with one case landing in court and another under police investigation. In the eastern city of Rezekne a probe had resulted in charges against two members of the neophyte leftist political party New Center for alleged vote-buying. (New Era and For Human Rights in a United Latvia have for once made common cause in denouncing the electoral outcome turning to the Administrative Court to contest the results.) The court on March 23 declared the elections in Rezekne invalid. Meanwhile, the Jurmala election may also end up in court, with the potential of nullification.

The names of the two men from New Center have yet to be released but were detained by local police and an investigation is under way. New Center won four seats in the 13 seat Rezekne city council, winning more than twice as many votes as their nearest competitor the National Harmony Party.

New Center is also suspected of offering bribes in Jurmala to both voters and members of the local council. The state's anticorruption bureau detained two members of New Center. Gvido Harijs Volbrugs and Leonids Lasmanis allegedly offered not only money but also land and the seat of vice-mayor for support, Ilmars Ancans, a deputy from the party Our Land, told a TV station. Both Volbrugs and Lasmanis denied the charges. Sergejs Dogopolovs, head of New Center, said that a board meeting would be held to met out disciplinary measures against those accused of improprieties.