RIGA - The Council of Ministers has almost unanimously agreed on sacking the entire Kekava City Council over what the government sees as deep-seated corruption.
Though most of the ministers agree that the City Council needs to go, a formal decision on the matter was not expected until March 28. Members of the City Council are accused of illegally issuing building permits and trading hundreds of land plots.
"If there are so many violations...what else can be a reason for sacking if not this? What else should they do? Where is the limit," said Regional Affairs Minister Edgars Zalans.
He said that the government's task now should be to attempt to remedy some of the damage that has been done. The only way to do that, he argued, was to get the City Council out of office as quickly as possible.
"There are other institutions in charge of handing down punishments. Our task is to correct the situation as soon as possible," the minister said.
Justice Minister Gaidis Berzins was the only Cabinet member strongly against the move, arguing that the Justice Ministry needed a chance to investigate the matter. He also said that council members should be given a chance to defend themselves.
The objection prompted Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis to invite all 11 members of the Kekava City Council to an extraordinary Cabinet meeting to explain themselves.
Zalans said the City Council members were guilty of issuing 67 illegal building permits and changing the permitted use of land plots 194 times 's all in violation of the law. They are also accused of illegally selling land plots for private construction.
The minister has proposed replacing the administration with three politically neutral officials, headed by ministry advisor Andris Krumins, who would be tasked with running the city until the next elections.