Riga City Council backs down on question limit in debate process

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The Riga City Council on April 9 cancelled the limit on the number of questions councilors can pose in council meetings, a move which had already been reversed by Environment Minister Kaspars Gerhards.

Nevertheless, a twenty-minute time limit to a single session of questions will still apply. It was instated on March 26 when it became clear the responsible ministry will not tolerate limiting the debate process.

The Environment Ministry is still evaluating the time limit, but opposition councilors think this will be lifted too.

Position councilors meanwhile say the opposition uses the time allotted for questions to deliberately stall the work of the council. 

"I think that the rules we've adopted, which apply to all councilors, are rational and at least ensure some predictability during meetings," vice-mayor Andris Ameriks (Honor to Serve Riga) told Latvian Radio.

The opposition meanwhile says that the limit was established due to fear, and says that the time limit is even worse than a question limit.

"This twenty minute rule is even worse. It creates a situation in which some councilors don't even get to ask questions," said opposition councilor Krišjānis Feldmanis (New Conservative Party). 

The March 1 meeting in which the question limit was imposed after fierce opposition lasted for more than 13 hours, concluding at 5 a.m.

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