Ušakovs turns to court over removal from office

Take note – story published 5 years ago

Nils Ušakovs (Harmony), who was recently suspended from the office of Rīga mayor by Environment Minister Juris Pūce (Development/For!), has turned to the court over the removal and also alleges a conflict of interest in the case.

That's what Ušakovs told a press conference May 7. Ušakovs claimed that the decision to get rid of him had been political: "It's subordinated to political motives. All of it." He also said that this amounts to "a publicity campaign that culminated in the decision taken over my removal."

His lawyers have contested both the procedure adopted in removing him, as well as the reproaches Pūce mentioned in the decision. 

They likewise point out that Pūce was an opposition councilor at the Rīga City Council and knew that most councilors did not want to increase the share capital at the Rīgas satiksme municipal transport company, which is now subject to several graft investigations. Therefore, the lawyers argue, the minister had punished his political opponents.

"He has a blatant conflict of interests, he can't be objective. [..] The minister can't make decisions on his own as he was a councilor in the current council," said lawyer Viktors Tihonovs.

Ušakovs' application to the court likewise includes a request to take action over Pūce's "blatant conflict of interest". 

As reported, on April 5 the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce (Development/For!) announced the suspension of longtime Rīga mayor Nils Ušakovs.

Ušakovs is under intense pressure as investigations continue into massive fraud at municial transport company Rīgas satiksme. He has not been charged with any crime, though his office and home were searched by police in connection with the cases.

He was elected Rīga mayor in July 2009 and has held the position ever since. With Rīga's large population and economic influence, it is one of the most powerful positions in the country.

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