Celebs join bid for Riga municipal elections

The opposition party Regional Alliance (LRA) and the liberal Latvian Development (LA) party have put Saeima member Mārtiņš Bondars (LRA) forth as their joint Riga mayor candidate in the upcoming 2017 municipal elections. He was joined by a couple of local celebrities, reported Latvian Radio on February 16.

In a marked difference from the other parties' offers, Bondars will be accompanied on the parties' joint list by local celebrities - women's basketball player Anete Jēkabsone-Žogota and former National Opera head Andrejs Žagars - as well as Latvian Development leader Juris Pūce. 

"Seeing the unrighteousness and prejudice rife in the Riga City Council, and feeling enormous support from the Rigans, I have made a responsible decision to run in the next municipal elections," said Bondars.

He claimed that he'll win as surveys ordered by the party say most Rigans want a new municipal government. 

Bondars made several bold claims for what he'd do should he become mayor, starting from promises of intense road repairs to improving the work of the municipal housing management company.

Remarkably, he also offered to pay tuition for Rigans who want to study at the world's top ten universities, provided they would make it up to the city later.

The leading Harmony party and Honor to Serve Riga have put forth long-time Riga mayor Nils Ušakovs as their candidate to lead the Latvian capital.

Unity have nominated MP Vilnis Ķirsis, while the Greens and Farmers Union nominated MP Armands Krauze.

The National Alliance nominated Riga City Council member Baiba Broka but Latvia From the Heart named three leading candidates without naming anyone of them in particular as vying for the mayor's seat.

Latvia will hold municipal elections on June 3, 2017. They are held once every four years.

A total 45.99% of the voting-age population partook in the 2013 elections and 53.75% in 2009.

Click HERE to listen to a podcast with commentator Ivars Ījabs for an overview of the political scene in Latvia.

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