Levits encourages creation of local residents' councils

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The formation of elected residents' councils will promote participation, and ownership and strengthen democracy at the local level, said the President of Latvia Egils Levits in the discussion "Opportunities for public involvement in the work of the local government. The new Local Government Law" on February 1.

The new Local Government Law provides for elected residents' councils locally.

The President said that a side effect of the administrative-territorial reform, creating larger and more economically powerful municipalities, was the distancing of elected representation from the population. “It seemed unacceptable to me that, following the reform, people in small towns or parishes no longer have representation. For example, in cities with a history of centuries, as in Rūjiena or Mazsalaca, residents no longer have an elected representative of local interests,” Levits said.

Therefore, at the time of the adoption of the Law on Administrative Territorial Reform, the President of Latvia repeatedly addressed the Saeima and the Cabinet, calling for legislation to include a regulation on the establishment of elected local councils. This is currently covered by the Local Government Law.

Levits said that local communities should be allowed to deal with local issues: “It is necessary to put all tasks together at the appropriate level of competence where they are best addressed. There are local, municipal, regional, national, European, and global issues. Local issues will be always, they are best seen by the local community and can best be addressed in cooperation with the municipality. The new municipal law enables residents to elect their parish or small-town council and requires the county to create such."

The discussion was organized by the thinktank “Solido” and the Association of Ādaži municipality districts in cooperation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.

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