The Riga City Council
On 4 May 1990 the Supreme Council of the Latvia SSR adopted the Declaration on Restoring Independence of the Republic of Latvia, which introduced the period of rebuilding the structure of state power and administration in Latvia, including the Riga City administration reform.
The process of restructuring started on 15 February 1990 with the laws adopted by the Supreme Council on the local governments of rural municipalities, regions, towns and cities. Pursuant to these laws the People’s Deputy Council from its members elected the Chairman of the Council, the Deputy Chairman and his/her secretary.
Andris Teikmanis, representative from the Latvian Popular Front, was elected the Chairman of the People’s Deputy Council of Riga. It should be noted that under the guidance of A. Teikmanis, the People’s Deputy Council of Riga voted for using the historical coat of arms and banner of Riga - a symbolic contribution to the continuity of the city’s heritage.
Simultaneously, major changes took place in the city life and in the work of the municipal structural units linked with the changes in property forms and in the formation of the city budget.
The law “On the Local Government of the Capital City Riga” passed on June 10, 1992 changed the city administration system in the very core. The Riga City Council, consisting of 60 councillors, became the largest administrative body of the city. 30 out of the 60 councillors were elected by the People’s Deputy Council of Riga from its members and the other 30 were elected by the Councils of the Riga City districts; five councillors from each district. Presidium and Executive Committee of the People’s Deputy Council of Riga were abolished and replaced by the City Board consisting of 11 members. Andris Teikmanis was elected Chairman of the Riga City Council. The district boards were established instead of executive committees, which were lead by the executive directors of the districts.
On August 26, 1993 the Riga City Council passed a resolution “On the Reform of the Riga Local Government”. It suggested to the Parliament to create in Riga a one-level local government with one administrative body, i.e. Riga City Council with 60 councillors and the executive body under the Riga City Council – the Riga City Board. On May 19, 1994 the Saeima passed the law following which the Riga City Council was elected in the municipal elections of May 29, 1994.
A one-level local government, the Riga City Council with 60 elected councillors, was set up in Riga. Māris Purgailis was elected the Chairman of the City Council. 11 Standing Committees were established (Finance Committee, City Development Committee, Committee for Housing Issues, Municipal Property and Privatization Committee, Environment Protection Committee, Education, Youth and Sports Committee, Culture, Arts and Religion Committee, Committee for Municipal and Transport Affairs, Social Affairs Committee and Order Committee, Committee for Matters of Foreigners and Stateless Persons).
Executive power was exercised by the Executive Director of the Riga City Council, whose deputies were also heads of departments (City Development Department, Property Department and Department of Finance). In the districts administrative functions were performed by the district boards appointed the Riga City Council; district boards were lead by directors. Every district board included six departments, district commissions as well as branches of the Riga City Council directorates and departments.
The next municipal elections took place on March 9, 1997. Andris Bērziņš was elected the Chairman of the City by the new Council. On May 5, 2000 he was appointed the Prime Minister and already on May 9 the RCC elected his successor Andris Ārgalis. The RCC structure also underwent some changes. The Council had to elect the Chairman and two Deputy Chairmen from among its members. The number of standing committees was also reduced to nine (Security and Order Committee and Committee for Matters of Foreigners and Stateless Persons were abolished). Chairmen of the Committees formed the Council’s Board. The Riga City Council employs the Executive Director of the Riga City to whom executive boards of the city districts and the Maintenance Division of the RCC are subject.
The last municipal elections were held on March 11, 2001. Gundars Bojārs was elected the Chairman of the City Council, and Sergejs Dolgopolovs and Aivars Guntis Kreituss were elected Deputy Chairmen. As compared to the previous Riga City Council, the number of standing committees increased to ten, by restoring the Security and Order Committee. The Board of the City Council was replaced by the Presidium of the Riga City Council.