City council elects new Riga mayor

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RIGA, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The city council of the Latvian capital Riga on Monday elected Olegs Burovs of the ruling Honor to Serve Riga (GKR) party as the new city mayor, local media informed.

Out of the 56 councilors attending the extraordinary council meeting, 35 voted for Burovs, while 12 votes were cast for rival candidate Viesturs Zeps of For Development of Latvia party.

The city council voted on the candidates for Riga mayor after interviewing them for nearly six hours at Monday's meeting.

In a speech following his election, Burovs stressed that as the mayor of Riga he would not be the "leader of just one party or political bloc, as he represents the whole local government and interests of all residents of Riga".

Burovs therefore pledged to remain politically neutral as far as possible and to seek compromises.

Speaking about the city council's immediate tasks Burovs mentioned work on Riga's 2020 budget and tackling the issues of financially troubled municipal transport company Rigas Satiksme.

Earlier on Monday, Latvia's left-wing Harmony party and GKR signed a new agreement reestablishing their coalition in Riga after several months of political uncertainty in the Latvian capital. Thanks to the new coalition accord, Burovs secured 35 votes on the city council, which was enough to win the race for Riga mayor.

The city council had to elect a new Riga mayor by Aug. 19 or face dissolution and a snap municipal election.

Political turmoil in Riga started after Nils Usakovs of the leftist Harmony party was suspended as Riga mayor in April and later resigned from the post following his election to the European Parliament. On May 30, Dainis Turlais of GKR was elected the new Riga mayor, but disagreements over that vote led to the disintegration of the ruling coalition of Harmony and GKR. On June 20, the city council ousted Dainis Turlais in a no-confidence vote. Enditem

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