On Friday, March 20, the Saeima adopted amendments to the Law on Dissolution of the Riga City Council, which provides for the election day to the Riga City Council and states that elections will be held on 6 June 2020.
The amendments to the Law on Dissolution of the Riga City Council were drafted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (MEPRD), taking into account the state's emergency situation declared by April 14 and the security measures introduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It should be noted that the date of the elections can be changed again if the situation in the country with the state emergency and the security measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be prolonged.
The amendments to the Law supported by the Saeima provide that if elections are held on 6 June, the Central Election Commission (CEC) has to re-announce them on 14 April.
The submission of candidate lists will take place from 21 April to 27 April. By 7 May the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs will prepare and send to voters by post the information regarding the polling station in the voters’ list of which the voter has been included. From 7 to 23 May voters will be able to change their initially allocated polling station on the Internet or in presence at any authority for residence declaration of the Riga City. In the same way voters can make registration for elections at one of the Riga polling stations, if they do not have a registered place of residence in Riga, but own real estate in Riga.
On 3, 4 and 5 June it will be possible to vote during early voting for a few hours a day. The current electoral order provides for the possibility to apply for voting at the place of residence for voters who are not able to attend polling stations for health reasons. But due to the spread of COVID-19 this possibility may have to be cancelled.
The right to participate in the Riga City Council elections have citizens of Latvia and other Member States of the European Union (EU), who have reached the age of 18 and who had registered place of residence in the administrative territory of Riga 90 days before the Election Day. If the elections are held on 6 June, the voters’ lists will include those voters who had their registered residence in Riga on 8 March this year. Voters who own real estate in Riga also have the right to participate in the Riga City Council elections.
The voting document in the Riga City Council elections will be a valid passport or identity card (eID). There will be no stamp made in the passport, and voter lists will be used to ensure the principle of “one voter – one vote”.
The lists of candidates will have to be submitted to the Riga City Election Commission and may be submitted by a registered political party, a registered association of registered political parties, as well as two or more registered political parties that have not joined in a registered association of political parties.
Nationals of Latvia or other EU Member States who have reached at least 18 years of age and are registered in the Voters Register shall have the right to participate in local government elections as candidates. In order to stand in the elections to the Riga City Council, on the day of the submission of the list of candidates the person must meet at least one of these conditions - in Riga there must be a registered place of residence without interruption for the last 10 months, he or she must have worked as a worker or self-employed person for at least the last four months or he or she has to own real estate in Riga.
On 13 February 2020 the Saeima adopted the Law on Dissolution of the Riga City Council, which envisaged the dissolution of the Riga City Council and the holding of extraordinary elections. The dissolution of the Riga City Council was justified by the fact that the Riga City Council is not able to make decisions because more than half of the total number of the City Council members have not participated in three consecutive seats. In addition, in the justification of the dissolution of the Riga City Council, the MEPRD indicated that the Riga City Council allows illegal action and does not fulfill the autonomous functions of a municipality established in the Waste Management Law - to organise municipal waste management.
Initially the election day was set on 25 April, but accordingly to the decision of the Administrative District Court of 13 March, the Riga City Council elections were scheduled to take place on 2 May 2. Due to additional security measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the continuation of the national emergency elections has been postponed to 6 June of this year.
20 March 2020
Information department of the Central Election Commission