Rēzekne Mayor Bartaševičs dismissed from office

On November 2, Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (VARAM) Inga Bērziņa (New Unity) ordered Aleksandrs Bartaševičs to be removed from his position as Mayor of Rēzekne. 

VARAM explained in a statement to the media that the chairman of Rēzekne City Council is being dismissed for significant and systematic violations while heading the work of the City Council and being n charge of the organization and management of the local government budget implementation process. The violations, as well as the fact that the mayor has not provided factual, true, comparable, understandable, and complete information regarding the financial situation of the local government and regarding the preparation and implementation of the local government budget, indicate the inability of the chairperson of the city or municipality council to fulfil his or her duties, says the statement.

“The head of the municipality must act within the scope of the law. In the case of Rēzekne, there have been deliberate and serious offenses affecting the planning and implementation of the local government budget. Such violations are not permissible, the mayor must be held accountable for his actions,” Inga Bērziņa noted.

In the Ministry's assessment, the Mayor of Rezekne, being responsible for the organization and management of the local government budget implementation process, deliberately did not ensure the inclusion of all necessary funding in it.

Rēzekne City Council is in a difficult financial situation – it lacks several million euros to cover its expenses this year. It prepared an action plan to improve the financial situation in the long term, but after evaluating it, the Ministry of Finance did not have confidence that the local government would be able to fulfill its obligations towards creditors.

State Audit Office said it would conduct an audit in the municipality. The Ministry of Finance has turned to the Prosecutor General's Office and other law enforcement institutions to assess the responsibility of Mayor Bartaševičs and Council employees.

Minister Bērziņa previously stated that VARAM evaluates two possible options in relation to the financial crisis in the city of Rēzekne – only the removal of the mayor or the dismissal of all Rēzekne City Council, which should then be decided by the Saeima.

Earlier this year Bartaševičs was excluded from the Harmony political party over "discrediting the party and violating the statute".

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