State Chancellery: Rīga City Council dissolution lacks legal basis

The State Chancellery Legal Department announced on December 15 that the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (VARAM) and Cabinet of Ministers bill on the dissolution of the Rīga City Council lacks sufficient legal argumentation.

Lawyers at the State Chancellery evaluated the bill and annotation, pointing out that dissolving a body of representatives elected by the people is a violation of voters' rights. They said that for the Cabinet of Ministers to properly evaluate the bill, the annotation information must also be evaluated on whether it complies with legal principles, especially principles of equality and proportionality. 

"The annotation lacks expanded legal reasoning regarding whether Rīga City Council members have repeatedly violated or not followed the law during this term,” said the State Chancellery.

The lawyers consider that the annotation doesn't provide a vision on whether and how the temporary administration will effectively solve the municipal waste management issue, which the Rīga City Council has not managed to do, and is the basis for dissolution.

"We suggest specifying the annotation, so that the Cabinet of Ministers can objectively evaluate the VARAM bill. We also suggest giving the Rīga City Council the opportunity to present their opinion on the VARAM bill and annotation before the meeting at the Cabinet of Ministers," said the State Chancellery lawyers.

As previously reported, VARAM Minister Juris Pūce (Development/For!) called for the dissolution of the Rīga City Council in a press conference on December 6, however the final decision is in the hands of Saiema members.

Pūce explained that the Ministry has carefully analyzed Rīga City Council operations in organizing municipal waste management. VARAM found that there were several systematic violations for which the council chair was asked to present explanations for analysis.

The Ministry found that the City Council did nothing to find appropriate waste managers during the three-month state of emergency. The final letter from the City Council explained why the waste management regulations don't need to be amended, but the Ministry disagrees.

After evaluating the violations, VARAM found that there is a basis for calling for dissolution. They found that the actions were not only illegal, but also don't promote confidence in the institution, according to Pūce. 

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