Rīga mayor Mārtiņš Staķis steps down

Rīga Mayor Mārtiņš Staķis has decided to resign, according to a statement from the politician issued on Monday July 3.

This decision was caused by disagreements and disputes within the coalition regarding the investigation of alleged violations in the management practices and use of funds in the Transport Department of Rīga City Council.

He said that since the extraordinary elections of Rīga City Council in 2020 he has worked to introduce modern, sustainable changes and best management practices in the capital of Latvia.

One of the key principles for Staķis has been fair governance and zero tolerance for waste of money and corruption. “I have also observed this principle by submitting information on the waste of money to the Transport Department of Rīga City Council, as well as by informing the officials of the Rīga City Council responsible for the field of traffic,” stated Staķis.


Instead of encouraging and preventing the investigation of infringements already identified at the Transport Department, the politicians responsible for the field chose to do everything to “sweep the infringements under the rug”, said Staķis. “My former colleagues chose disloyalty – not to me, but to the principles we once shared,” noted Staķis.

He also pointed out that he had tried to manage the Riga Council as a whole, which “is not divided into the controlled kingdoms of political factions, in which everyone can do as they wish, and no one else has been allowed to ask any additional questions – not even if there is a problem of wasting funds or other irregularities”. 

He believes that currently the majority of Riga City Council has chosen "another path for the city development".

Consequently, in the opinion of Staķis, it is not possible to have productive work for the sake of Rīga, where there is one formal coalition but in reality, the decisions are taken by a very different majority. This is why Staķis has decided to resign from the post of Riga City Council Chairman.

He added that the current composition of the Rīga City Council is able to act and work by agreeing on a new leadership and cooperation rules.

Elected as part of the liberal For Development/For! political force in 2020, Staķis left the party in 2022 but carried on as mayor with the support of the For! and Progressives parties. He was a fairly popular politician in a position that tends not to give popularity easily, most notably hitting international headlines when the flag of Belarus was changed in a public display during the World Ice Hockey Championships in Rīga to show support for the democratic movement.  

In an interview with Latvian Television Monday morning he signalled his readiness to continue as a municipal councillor.

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