Reform Threatens to Cold-Shoulder IRL in Tartu ({{commentsTotal}})

Party paraphernalia Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The Reform Party is attempting to cast IRL into the opposition in Tartu, Estonia's second city, and form a new coalition with the Center Party and the Social Democrats.

In the wake of the elections, talks deteriorated with the traditional partner, IRL, and yesterday an abrupt change in course led to a letter of intent between Reform, Center and the Social Dems, reported

"Voters have given a mandate for the creation of a broad-based coalition, which represents the interests of more Tartu residents," said Urmas Kruuse, current Mayor of Tartu and regional leader of the Reform Party, which has dominated the city's politics for over 15 years.

Reform blamed the breaking down of negotiations with IRL on Margus Tsahkna, IRL's mayoral candidate, saying he had made inappropriate statements, signaling potential alternative coalitions while talks with Reform were in progress.

"We must admit that IRL representative Margus Tsahkna's behavior did not leave us the option of forming a trustworthy and strong coalition with them. Nor were IRL's demands acceptable from the city budget's standpoint," Kruuse said.

Tsahkna's actions did not resonate well with his own party either, with IRL's regional leader saying Tsahkna should be kept out from future coalition talks.

In another notable power reshuffle in the recent local elections, two citizen election coalitions managed to elbow their way into the 49-seat city council, taking a total of six seats from conventional political parties.

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