Restoring Railway Will Lead Issues in Haapsalu Local Elections ({{commentsTotal}})

Wood trim in seaside resort and former railway terminus Haapsalu.
Wood trim in seaside resort and former railway terminus Haapsalu. Source: Photo: ERR

Despite ideological and policy differences, all four major parties campaigning in local elections in Haapsalu say they are in favor of restoring the city's Tallinn railway link, which was closed in 2004. 

"It should be the first priority of every party running in Haapsalu," Haapsalu's current mayor, Urmas Sukles, who is running for re-election for the Reform Party, told ETV.

The Center Party's candidate, current deputy mayor Peeter Vikman, said his party's message was that the railway should be efficient and rapid.
The Center and Reform also agree that schools and streets need better maintenance, with Reform backing channeling more money into the social sphere.

The IRL candidate Merle Mäesalu said she is committed to reducing seasonality of the resort town's economy, with a focus on "the other nine months" of the year.

The Social Democrats have not named a candidate, saying that the mayor should be picked through a competition.

ETV also reported that gender issues have emerged in the context of the mayoral race, with Mäesalu one of the few female candidates for mayor in Estonia and the current city government in Haapsalu being male-dominated. But she also happens to be the most controversial of the candidates, having often vocally criticized incumbent Sukles in public.