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Local government reform: can local governments conduct population surveys? – Views – News



On March 29, the Ikshkile County Council decided to conduct a study with the aim of retrieving the opinion of the residents of the province on the possible addition of the Ikskile region to the administrative areas of other provinces as a result of the administrative -territorial reform led by MEPRD. On 15 April the Council approved the Statute for this survey.

The Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development Juris Pūce stopped the decision of the city council on the investigation regulations instead of the survey itself, and TVNET clarified the Ikskile County Council.

This is also confirmed by the MEPRD.

"If no normative document determines how a study can be conducted and what these guidelines should be, it means that what is not allowed is not prohibited either.

No normative document currently prevents us from doing this. So it's more of a confrontation from the other side, "says Cheslav Batne (ZZS), vice president of the Ikskile County Council.

This statement is not shared by the head of the MEPRD department of municipalities Aivars Mičuls. According to him, the principle "everything that is prohibited is allowed" only applies to individuals, not to municipalities as public authorities. However, the most important claim of the MEPRD is not to express the opinion of the population, but to form this opinion.

"If a person is asked anonymously, even on the street, whether he is" for "or" against ", he knows very well that it is just a survey. If a person receives a newsletter, makes a note, uses a ballot box, has a person who is not an expert has the impression that he / she is taking part in the decision, although that is not the case, "Michel explained.

It is worth noting that participation in the survey can not only be done electronically, but also personally. "In the personal survey, from 9 to 11 May, polling stations will be open for several hours every day, as is the case during the elections," says the Ikšķile County website.

Aivars Mičuls also explained that the minister does not revoke the decision to conduct the investigation because he has the right to suspend only normative acts. Because the decision to conduct a survey was not a normative act, the minister could not stop it.

Are municipal surveys legitimate?

Edvīns Danovskis, associate professor of administrative law at the University of Latvia, Faculty of Law, confirms: The Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development has the right to withdraw only legal provisions. This right does not apply to simple decisions of the city council, including decisions about conducting surveys among the population.

"The minister has the right to suspend the normative decisions of the city council. If the council has simply decided to conduct a poll, determine the course of the survey, it is not a normative act that the minister could suspend.

The minister has the right to suspend only the binding regulations of the city council, as well as internal, normative acts, but not individual decisions, "said Danovskis.

In addition, municipalities have a duty to know the views of the public on matters of public interest, including administrative-territorial reform.

"The municipality undoubtedly has the right to conduct such consultative investigations. Especially in this case. It falls within the autonomous competence of the municipality. And it is very important for the council to know the opinion of these people, so that they have the opinion. the municipality in the negotiations with the Ministry on administrative territorial reform, "the administrative law expert recognized in an interview with TVNET.

Despite the position of the MEPRD, the Ikshkile County Council will still conduct a population screening on administrative territorial reforms.

In addition, the Ikshkile Regional Council will meet on 9 May for an extraordinary meeting. As TVNET noted by Vice President of the Cheslav Batna City Council (ZZS), the delegates will vote or challenge the MEPRD's decision to abolish the survey rules. If a majority of the members vote in favor, the municipality intends to apply to the Constitutional Court.

Meanwhile, MEPRD has approached the Attorney General's Prosecutor's Office in connection with the survey organized in the province of Ikšķile.

The ministry asks the institution to find out if there are any signs of arbitrary action in the activities of municipal officials, TVNET was told by Aivars Mičuls, director of the local government department of MEPRD. The application was sent to the public prosecutor's office on 30 April.


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