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Authors of alternative administrative territorial reform suggest establishing five to eight regions
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    Authors of alternative administrative territorial reform suggest establishing five to eight regions

    RIGA, July 18 (LETA) - The authors of an alternative administrative territorial reform propose dividing Latvia into five or eight administrative districts - either based on the planning regions or on the administrative basis of Latvian cities.

    During a press conference at the headquarters of the Latvian Large Cities' Association today, Andris Miglavs, advisor to the Latvian Association of Local Governments, Maris Pukis, professor at the University of Latvia's Business, Management and Economy School, and Peteris Skinkis, professor at the University of Latvia's Geography and Earth Sciences School, presented an alternative administrative territorial reform plan. Miglavs stressed that the research was carried at their own initiative as no institution had commissioned the study, nor paid for it.

    The authors of the alternative reform believe that Latvia's territorial development management must be reformed as soon as possible in order to increase the population of all regions, use the existing and new human resources more efficiently, create more efficient business environment, improve the life of local communities, and decentralize Latvia's development.

    The authors of the alternative reform propose replacing the current two-level government system of central government and local governments by a three-level system: central government, regional governments, and local governments.

    Relations among the three levels should be based on the European Charter of Local Self-Government, and all local governments would be run by councils elected by direct suffrage.

    Some of the current local governments' functions would be delegated to the new regional councils, such as primary and secondary education, maintenance and development of transport infrastructure, health and social care infrastructure, civil defense and security, orphan courts, housing policy.

    In the meantime, part of ministries' functions would be decentralized and entrusted to regional governments, for instance, management of vocational education, primary and secondary healthcare, maintenance and development of regional and local roads, organization of passenger transport, civil defense.

    Each regional government would also have a business development institution assisted by the regional development instruments of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.

    All regional governments' operations would be supervised by the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry.

    As for financial management, the alternative reform plan suggests that regional governments have predictable sources of revenue based on economic activity, while personal income tax revenue would depend on not just where the person lives, but also where he or she works.

    The primary task of the territorial organization reform is the establishment of new regions, designating their borders and centers. The new regions have to be as large as possible so they could efficiently implement the costliest functions of local governments and infrastructure development projects.

    The alternative reform plan states that the new regions should be established either on the basis of the current planning regions or on the basis of cities.

    Latvian Large Cities Association's Executive Director Viktors Valainis (Greens/Farmers) said that the alternative plan had been sent to all large cities' mayors and the reform would be discussed on Monday, July 22. The association and Latvian Association of Local Governments are planning to also present the study to ministers and Saeima members.

    As reported, the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry's administrative territorial reform stipulates reducing the number of local governments in Latvia from 119 to 35.

    • Published: 18.07.2019 19:26
    • LETA
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