On 12 September, PROGRESĪVIE gathered for the political party’s yearly congress. In the Congress of Victories, we discussed the results of Riga City Council elections and announced our participation in the upcoming 2021 municipal elections to bring green and socially responsible politics to the rest of Latvia.
In the snap elections for Riga City Council, PROGRESĪVIE worked side by side with the liberal party union Attīstībai/Par! in a united open list. This partnership brought an unprecedented victory for the PROGRESĪVIE and Attīstībai/Par! list. It was a victory for pro-European, progressive, green and socially responsible values. Notably, in a European capital previously dominated by more than a decade of politicians with obscure and semi-authoritarian management style, and with dozens of their associates accused of serious corruption, embezzlement and fraud, and pro-Kremlin sentiments. Our list received the support of 26.16% of voters, which was an unexpected margin of victory in light of the previous administration’s tight grip on the city. We are already taking a leading part in establishing a “Coalition of Change”, one which would be able to work in the interests of Riga and its people for the next 4 and a half years.
PROGRESĪVIE are truly grateful for the mandate entrusted to us by the voters of Riga. Out of 18 people elected from the united open list, 11 are members of PROGRESĪVIE or our associated neighbourhood activists. This result brings PROGRESĪVIE the largest representation in Riga among the parties that make up the upcoming coalition. We understand that the trust of the voters comes with responsibility. That is why we want to tell you about the smaller victories of this election. These smaller victories continue to motivate us in further work and inspire people to believe that positive change in politics IS possible!
- In August, 91 people donated towards our work. PROGRESĪVIE was the most widely supported political party in Latvia in terms of unique donators in August. Many small donations allowed us to reach the goals of our campaign and prove that political victories in Latvia are possible with the support of everyday people, for a party that is independent of a few rich, self-interested donors.
- A historically high proportion of women were elected from PROGRESĪVIE and Attīstībai/Par! united open list – 10 out of 18 newly elected officials in Riga City Council are women.
- Our list also included the youngest elected Riga City Council officials – Justīne Panteļējeva (27) and Edmunds Cepurītis (29). In total, 5 of the youngest council officials will be PROGRESĪVIE members. Our united caucus will be the youngest in the Riga City Council.
- 3 young mothers were elected from our list – Mairita Lūse, Antoņina Ņenaševa and Selīna Vancāne. We will prove that politics, just like any workplace, council and campaign trail, is a place for all parents.
- Only 7 out of 707 candidates in Riga elections were people with disabilities, based on active membership in a disability advocacy organization, according to data by the association “Apeirons”. Unfortunately, only one of these candidates was elected to City Council. We are proud of Rūta Mežavilka, a member of PROGRESĪVIE and Sadzirdi.lv, an advocacy organization for people with hearing loss.
- We conducted a financially effective election campaign. Our candidates, professionals and volunteers ensured that PROGRESĪVIE and Attīstībai/Par! campaign expenses were the lowest out of all political parties per vote.
- We are proud of the three highly skilled professionals who will be chairing council committees. PROGRESĪVIE co-chair, Edmunds Cepurītis, will chair the Committee of Housing and Environment. Edmunds has professional experience of 10 years in environmental protection and zero-waste initiatives. PROGRESĪVIE board member Viesturs Kleinbergs will chair the Social Issues Committee. Viesturs works in the Samaritan Association of Latvia, with 14 years of experience in social work. Iveta Ratinīka (our colleague from Attīstībai/Par!) will chair the Education, Culture and Sports Committee. We have readily taken responsibility over some of the most problematic policy areas of Riga, so that we can truly make our capital greener, more equal, and to prove ourselves with our work.
The victory of PROGRESĪVIE and Attīstībai/Par! is historical. It ensures that Riga will finally be led by an honest, modern, socially responsible and green pro-European force. We acknowledge that this victory comes with great challenges – one of which is the low voter turnout of only 40.58%. This demonstrates the barriers between the previous City Council and the people, as well as the low levels of trust that people of Latvia place in politicians.
PROGRESĪVIE are ready to protect the rights and interests of all people of Riga. We do not discriminate on the basis of ethnic belonging, language, gender, sexual orientation or other characteristics. We are ready to work in the whole of Latvia, to promote our ideas of green and socially inclusive policies, to actively participate in other regions of our nation. We promise to treat the trust of our voters responsibly and hope that this victory will be one of many positive examples in Europe and the world. Examples that show and prove the success and necessity of green and socially responsible policies worldwide.