Mudslinging erupts within Riga City Council

  • 2010-09-22
  • From wire reports

RIGA - Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony Center) is determined to ensure stability at Riga City Council after claims surfaced of an attempted mutiny by his Vice-mayor, Ainars Slesers (Latvia’s First Party/Latvia’s Way). LETA reports that Usakovs met on Sept. 16 with Edgars Jaunups (New Era) and Slesers after Jaunups’ public claims that Slesers had offered to oust Usakovs, and for Jaunups to take his place.

Slesers, claimed Jaunups, had requested cooperation from the Unity alliance [of which New Era is a part] to form a new government and for their support for the political alliance For a Good Latvia (of which Slesers’ party is a member).
“Usakovs must consider whether the present deputy mayor, Ainars Slesers, is the right partner to have for long-term cooperation,” Jaunups said after the meeting, which was very constructive, though no decisions were adopted.
Usakovs took notice of what Jaunups said about Slesers’ plans and the Vice-mayor’s “previous mischief,” as well as listened to his colleague’s views about the political processes in the City Council and Latvia in general.
After Jaunups’ announcement, Slesers publicly called him a “liar” and a “schemer” who simply “wants to attract attention to himself.”

Slesers repeatedly stressed that the current coalition in Riga City Council, which consists of Latvia’s First Party/Latvia’s Way and Harmony Center, is “very successful,” and has so far been able to work without disagreement; therefore, it would “simply be irresponsible to make any changes.”
Slesers repeatedly stressed that he never betrayed and never would betray his people and the present cooperation in Riga City Council would continue.

Slesers countered that “No bartering will take place with New Era or Unity, and the coalition will remain [the same] in Riga City Council.” He also laughed off suggestions that Jaunups could be a candidate for mayor of the city, claiming that “he cannot even be trusted with his father’s car, as he would immediately go over the speed limit.”
Jaunups, who is New Era’s leader in the Riga City Council, revealed that Slesers’ attempted move to oust the mayor was to occur following Saeima elections in early October. The offer was also made by several other persons affiliated with Slesers’ party, Jaunups revealed, but he declined to name the individuals.

Jaunups added that Slesers’ offer did not surprise him, as he has “used similar methods previously.” The offer was turned down.