Saeima supports giving competition watchdog more power over municipalities

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In the second, non-final reading the Saeima endorsed a bill giving the Competition Council (KP) authority to fine and otherwise influence municipal and state institutions over distortion of competition. 

Specifically, on February 14 a bill was endorsed that would allow the KP to influence agreements, informing the public, as well as "stopping specific actions impeding competition" in state and municipal institutions.

Likewise, KP would be able to limit market-distorting materials (presumably advertisements) from appearing in municipal newspapers as well as ask the Environment Ministry to prevent municipalities from charging unwarranted fees. 

Municipal newspapers have often featured advertisements, thus distorting competition with private outlets. 

KP will likewise be able to fine institutions with up to €50,000.

The bill was adopted with 62 votes 'for', one 'against' and 15 'abstaining'. It still has to pass the third reading and then be promulgated by the president. 

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