PM: Plan to sack Rīga City Council needs legal scrutiny

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The government will not review a proposal to sack the Rīga City Council over an ongoing corruption scandal unless the cabinet's legal experts okay the plan, outgoing PM Māris Kučinskis (Greens and Farmers Union) told LTV December 18.

"Without a doubt, what has happened in the Rīga City Council is clearly spitting into the face of the public. I am sure all the guilty will be punished, and stiffly at that," he said.

Nevertheless, Kučinskis said that the law only allows sacking a city council if it repeatedly disobeys the Constitution, laws, or cabinet and court rulings.

The government would only review the plan if it is greenlighted by the government's legal experts.

"It may be that my government will be the last to obey the rule of law, but we'll do so anyway," he quipped.

Asked whether Rīga mayor Nils Ušakovs (Harmony) should step down, the PM had this to say:

"In all fairness, yes. But it would have to be his own decision...currently it's the legal experts who have the say."

Kučinskis argued that it's unlikely the mayor did not have an inkling as to what was happening in a company under direct supervision of the council. 

As reported, Rīga deputy mayor Andris Ameriks (Honor to Serve Rīga) stepped down on December 17 after news broke out that his house was searched in connection with an ongoing corruption probe into the municipal transport company Rīgas satiksme.

Officials of Rīgas satiksme and the Rīga City Council have been arrested in a case centered on claims of bribery and profiteering from procurement contracts worth hundreds of millions of euros. 

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