RIGA - The main reason why Riga Mayor Martins Stakis (Progressives/For) has decided to step down is that he can no longer take responsibility for decisions of the Riga City Council, as Stakis explained at a press conference today.
According to Stakis, his former coalition partners - New Unity, National Alliance/Latvian Association of Regions and Code for Riga - have formed a different majority together with Harmony and Honor to Serve Rig and are making decisions behind the Progressives/For's back.
This is evidenced by a vote on the creation of a new investigative commission to look into possible violations at the Riga City Council's Traffic Department, when the former coalition partners sided with Harmony. Stakis is therefore no longer able to take responsibility for decisions of Riga City Council and has decided to resign.
After Stakis' resignation is formally handed in, it should be reviewed at Riga City Council's next meeting, after which he will no longer be the mayor of Riga. The next council meeting is scheduled for next week, but an extraordinary meeting could be this week.
Stakis said that he would resign as the mayor of Riga and continue as a Riga City Council member.
Stakis reiterated that fair governance was one of his main principles. This means properly organized tenders, professional management of municipal companies, zero tolerance for corruption.
As reported, the Riga City Council faction For/Progressives accuses its coalition partner, the New Unity, of trying to cover up squandering of EUR 7 million in the Riga City Council Traffic department.
For/Progressives reminded that a probe into the traffic department's operations has been completed and revealed a number of significant violations totaling at least EUR 7 million.
A disciplinary investigation in these violations has been initiated by the Riga executive director and it is in its final phase. The investigation is due to conclude on July 15, and Delna transparency organization has been attracted as a supervisor.
"A new disciplinary commission means, in fact, that politicians want to sabotage the existing investigation, interfere in the competence of the executive power and delay the process," For/Progressives explained.
The Riga City Council last Wednesday held a debate on establishment of a commission to investigate alleged violations in the traffic department. This highlighted the disagreement between the coalition partners, the New Unity and For/Progressives.
It has also been reported that Code For Riga, a group of lawmakers, which is part of the ruling coalition at the Riga City Council, is concerned about a possible collapse of the Riga City Council coalition and is therefore calling on the coalition partners to negotiations.
On June 16, Acting Director of the Traffic Department, Janis Vaivods, and the Head of the Traffic Infrastructure Department, Andrejs Urtans were suspended from their duties for the time of disciplinary investigation.
After a whistleblower's report was checked, it was found that the Traffic Department had not created an appropriate accounting system to verify the amount of work done and the amount of asphalt used up in street resurfacing projects.