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    Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs. File photo

    Riga Mayor Gives Up Post to Run in EU Elections for 'Harmony' Party's Future

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    RIGA (Sputnik) - Nils Usakovs, the mayor of Riga, Latvia’s capital, has stated that a decision to leave his post for the sake of running in the European Parliament elections in May was motivated by a desire to ensure a future for the coalition of his Social Democratic Party "Harmony" and the honour of serving in a Riga municipal party.

    "This week I made the most difficult decision in my political life: to head Harmony's list in the European Parliament elections… I have become the main aim in a new spiral of war… The more they fight against me, the more our common cause suffers, the more difficult it is for all of us to work, the more Riga citizens suffer… I decided to sacrifice my position… in order to enable the team of Harmony, and the honour to serve Riga to continue its work", Usakovs posted on Facebook.

    Usakovs added that Harmony had nominated him as its candidate for the European Parliament elections so that he would "continue to fight for Riga, Latvia… and Harmony's values" in the institution.

    "If I become a European Parliament lawmaker, I'll be able to show you how much one can do for common people in Brussels if one really works here", the mayor added.

    He voiced the belief that the coalition of Harmony, would successfully continue to pursue its policies in Latvia after his resignation.

    READ MORE: Latvia's EU Blues: Why Support for Membership in Union is Down to Record Lows

    Over the past months, Usakovs has survived two no-confidence votes over his alleged links to a corruption scandal around a mayor's office-controlled transport operator. The mayor has repeatedly denied all accusations. Several rallies have been held in Riga, by both Usakovs' supporters and people calling for his resignation.

    Usakovs, who has served as the mayor of Riga since 2009, claimed that a "war" against Harmony had been waged in the country since the coalition's foundation, suggesting that the real reason behind the attacks, supported by the government and major media outlets, was the fact that Harmony has prioritised union between ethnic Latvians and the country's Russian-speaking population.

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    candidate, election, European Parliament, European Union, Nils Usakovs, Latvia
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