The course of reconciliation of the draft Law on Local Governments

Last week, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development held an inter-institutional conciliation meeting on the new Law on Local Governments. The new law will replace the law “On Local Governments” adopted 25 years ago, which has been amended 32 times so far.

At the conciliation meeting, discussions on the wording of the draft law are constructive, but not all parties involved understand the importance of public participation for the transparency and openness of local government activities. As an example, the negative attitude was about the local government's obligation to promote and support civil society organisations operating in its administrative territory, about the local government's obligation to publish information on the allocation of funds for voluntary initiatives, their use and achieved results. Proposals setting minimum requirements for executive directors for previous experience and good reputation of candidates not only for the position of chairman and deputy chairman of the council, but also for the positions of heads of municipal committees, commissions and other elected bodies were also rejected.

In the opinion of the Civic Alliance - Latvia, the society would benefit if certain positions were held by persons whose previous activities do not cause doubts. In addition, just as applicants for positions in public administration are required to have a good reputation, then, in our opinion, the representatives appointed to the positions of local government must also have a good reputation.

It should be mentioned that in recent years the public perception has changed about many issues that need to be addressed or observed in the work of the local governments. Therefore, it is important to establish in the draft law the principles that ensure public participation, support of associations and foundations from the local government, representation of citizens' interests and many other issues that were not regulated or were regulated to a minimal extent in the previous law. Conciliation meetings will continue this week.