Political Budget Cycles and Mayoral Influence in Latvian Municipalities: An Examination of Revenue, Expenditure, and Electoral Dynamics


  • Malvine Stučka PhD candidate




mayor, local leader, budgeting, elections, political budget cycle


Budget allocation and budget planning can be used in different ways. In addition, it can be part of a political budget cycle. Previous research has highlighted the political budget cycle's existence in European countries, demonstrating its impact on public revenue and expenditure near elections. However, citizens often lack awareness of this phenomenon, underscoring the need for vigilant scrutiny. In addition, elected politicians increasingly rely on voters for support, targeting them during budget allocation and election campaigns. In Latvia, the mayors have a role in budget planning because they work full-time and are the head of the financial commission. In Latvia, despite a lack of trust in local politicians, there is a tendency for most of the mayors to be re-elected. The article aims to examine what kind of role the council’s chairperson has in the local government's budget allocation process and what factors affect the budget allocation process in Latvia. The article’s scope encompasses the years 2009 to 2017, spanning two election terms (2009-2013; 2013-2017), and focuses on eight state cities in Latvia, excluding the capital city, Riga. Notably, local governments with a higher percentage of council members from the mayor's party tend to exhibit higher expenditure levels. The findings of this study suggest that various socio-economic and political factors impact the financial performance of local governments in Latvia. These results underscore the significance of population and unemployment in shaping local government expenditures. Simultaneously, this research has highlighted the importance of political factors such as the majority in the local government and time spent in the mayor’s position. Moreover, it reveals that long-serving mayors and a majority in the council also influence budget allocation decisions. This article's implications can guide policymakers in making informed decisions regarding municipal budget expenditures and revenues.