A case initiated with respect to a norm that envisages the dismissal of the Riga City Council because it, allegedly, allows unlawful actions and fails to fulfil the autonomous function of a local government – to organise household waste management
On 17 March 2020, the 3rd Panel of the Constitutional Court initiated the case “On Compliance of Para 2 of Section 1 of the law “On Dismissal of the Riga City Council” with Article 1 and Article 101 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia”.
The Contested Norm
Para 2 of Section 1 of the law “On Dismissal of the Riga City Council”:
“By this Law, the Saeima shall dismiss the Riga City Council, in view of the fact that the Riga City Council:
2) allows unlawful actions and does not fulfil the autonomous function of a local government established in Waste Management Law, the law “On Local Governments” and other regulatory enactments – to organise household waste management (Para 1 of Section 91 (1) of the law “On Local Governments).”
The Norms of Higher Legal Force
Article 1 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia (hereafter – the Satversme): “Latvia is an independent democratic republic.”
Article 101 of the Satversme: “Every citizen of Latvia has the right, as provided for by law, to participate in the work of the State and of local government, and to hold a position in the civil service.
Local governments shall be elected by Latvian citizens and citizens of the European Union who permanently reside in Latvia. Every citizen of the European Union who permanently resides in Latvia has the right, as provided by law, to participate in the work of local governments. The working language of local governments is the Latvian language.”
On 13 February 2020, the Saeima adopted a law that envisaged dismissal of the Riga City Council because, inter alia, it, allegedly allowed unlawful actions and failed to fulfil the autonomous function of a local government – to organise household waste management. Twenty members of the Saeima (hereafter – the Applicant) have turned to the Constitutional Court because they believe that these grounds for dismissing the Riga City Council are not valid.
The applicant holds that the contested norm is incompatible with the principle of good legislation since the respective local government council had not been properly heard and the opinions of the involved institutions and experts had not been assessed in the adoption of this norm. Likewise, the principle of self-government and the principle of democracy have been violated by the contested norm since the local government council had not been involved in deciding on a matter important for it. Finally, the applicant holds that the legislator had chosen a disproportional measure for resolving the relationship with the respective local government.
The Legal Proceedings
The Constitutional Court has requested the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia to submit a written reply on the facts of the case and the legal reasoning by 18 May 2020.
The term for preparing the case is 17 August 2020. The Court will decide on the type of procedure and the date for hearing the case after it has been prepared.
Linked case: 2020-16-01