Scandal-hit Jelgava municipality mayor steps down

Jelgava Municipality Council Chairman Madars Lasmanis has announced his resignation as mayor, Lasmanis said in a release to the media on April 3. Lasmanis makes the move a week and a half after an ambiguous video of the council leader was leaked to the public.

The release says that Jelgava municipality deputies have agreed to form a new coalition and choose a new mayor. In order not to hinder the election of a new leader and the smooth running of the municipality, Lasmanis is resigning from his position as chairman of the Jelgava County Council, he says.

"I am pleased that the new coalition is based on an agreement on the reorganization of the municipality's central administration, which has so far been sabotaged by the current Executive Director Līga Lonerte," Lasmanis said in the statement.

Lasmanis had already suggested the dismissal of the municipality's executive director at the end of March after Lonerte and other deputies called out his actions during a meeting of the council's committee. The recording of the meeting, which Lasmanis attended remotely, shows a woman sitting in the back being touched in an allegedly inappropriate manner.

Without mentioning the situation, Lasmanis apologized to the residents of the municipality and to the wider public who "have felt in any way uncomfortable or offended by the situation. I will make every effort to restore my tarnished reputation and regain trust".

"I only know honest work within legal limits. That is how I work, and that is what I demand of all my fellow human beings. Good work is not enough. Of course, everyone must also observe ethical standards in their actions. A person who works in a public office must not be placed in a situation that is open to interpretation. We all know this, but until it happens to ourselves, we do not fully understand. I myself supplied weapons to opponents," says Lasmanis.

Lasmanis denied to Latvian Radio that his resignation was linked to the ambiguous video scandal.

"The deputies have demanded my resignation. Between the time of the request and now, there have been various political negotiations and the politicians have decided on a reshuffle, which will result in a new mayor," he said.

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