RIGA - Vilnis Kirsis, the candidate for Riga mayor from the Unity party, promises to cut public transport fares nearly by half, to provide health insurance to the city's elderly and 4,000 rental apartments for young families, if elected.
At the general meeting of the Unity's Riga branch today Kirsis presented his program outlining 15 key measures he intended to carry out if elected as the next Riga mayor.
He said that many of the initiatives could be implemented through the effective use of the existing funding but some will require additional financing - about EUR 60 million in total.
The mayoral candidate said his election promises were "specific and quantifiable". For example, the single ride fare in Riga's public transport will be lowered from current EUR 1.15 to EUR 0.6 upon replacement of the current electronic ticketing system which is costing the city EUR 23 million a year.
He also promised to create 250 jobs for people with special needs, to do away with long waiting lines for places in municipal kindergartens, to provide 4,000 rental apartments for young families, to supply the elderly Rigans with health insurance paid for by the municipality and to establish a non-taxable minimum in case of real estate tax for one's only home.
Riga must have a zero-deficit budget at worst, Kirsis said, adding that the anti-corruption committee should be re-established in the Riga City Council. He said the local council should be considering any public initiatives signed by more than 1,000 Rigans.
He criticized the current leaders of the Riga city for politically separating Riga from the rest of Latvia, for pursuing their own economic interests and for attempting to convince people that there is no alternative to current Riga mayor - Nils Usakovs from the leftist pro-Russia Harmony party. "Those people try to convince you that Latvia is not quite Europe and Riga is not quite Latvia," Kirsis said.