Latvian Association of Local Governments calls for Pūce to resign

The Latvian Association of Local Governments (LPS) demands resignation of Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce (For Development) due to dissatisfaction with the progress of the regional reform that aims to cut the number of municipalities from 119 to 36. 

The demand was supported by 90 participants of the LPS council meeting. Four participants voted against the move and two abstained.

Participants of the meeting also supported a call on Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) to form a task force under his lead that would include representatives from LPS and other ministries that would work on the regional reform model.

For his part, Kariņš said he has confidence in Pūce's ability to complete the territorial reform.

He told the press before the Cooperation Council meeting September 16 that the administrative territorial reform in Latvia is necessary. "We want orderly education and health care system that will be able to ensure good quality service," said the prime minister, adding that these systems can be improved when the territorial issues are in order.

Kariņš said that there are different municipalities in Latvia - there are large and strong ones that are able to ensure good quality services, and there are also others that are not as successful.

"Of course, not everybody is happy about the changes, but I have confidence in Pūce that he will complete this work," the prime minister said.

Kariņš said that in relation to the territorial reform, the government is working as a team, and a number of ministers have their own responsibilities in this respect. 

Kariņš did not want to comment on the demand of the Latvian Association of Local Governments (LPS) for Pūce to resign. "I can voice the government's and my own opinion - the reform is necessary," he said.

Earlier, heads of 19 local governments asked Gints Kaminskis, the chairman of the Latvian Association and Local Governments (LPS), to convene an extraordinary closed council meeting on suspending the territorial reform. 

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