RIGA, May 31 (Xinhua) -- The Latvian capital city's ruling coalition of the left-wing Harmony and Honor to Serve Riga (GKR) has split up and lost majority after four Harmony members were kicked out of the party during the city council's overnight meeting, local media reported Friday.
Riga vice mayor Vadims Baranniks, as well as three other councilors were expelled from Harmony after they refused to support the election of their fellow party member Sandris Bergmanis as the city's second vice mayor while GKR member Dainis Turlais was elected the new mayor on Thursday night.
Harmony leader and former Riga mayor Nils Usakovs said on public television that the four rebel councilors had "grossly violated party discipline". They will be expelled from the city council's Harmony faction and Baranniks will be removed from the office of vice mayor, Usalovs said.
Newly-elected Riga mayor Turlais said the decision to expel the four dissenting Harmony members was right.
Until now, Harmony and GKR together had 32 of the 60 votes on the Riga city council, but now the coalition has been left with only 28 votes.
The situation has significantly increased the possibility of a snap municipal elections in Riga, especially since the city's center-right opposition has ruled out a partnership with Harmony, GKR or the four councilors expelled from Harmony.