Savisaar Interviewed by Daily on Accusations, Plans (5)
In an interview with Argo Ideon in Postimees, Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar refuted accusations that the city is spending public money on the Center Party's local election campaign, and talked about the party's priorities following local elections.
He also repeated denials, made to uudised.err.ee earlier in the week, that the Center Party had engaged in covert financing within the party, saying the Center Party had passed scrutiny by law enforcement.
The following five excerpts, reproduced under the Estonian media's fair use policies, are from a much longer October 12 interview that can be read in full (in Estonian) here, on Postimees.
Why are you channeling hundreds of thousands of euros of city funds to the election campaign? This is one of your opponents' most serious accusations.
They must not really have anything else to accuse me of. [...] In the previous city council, IRL in particular had the habit of channeling money to the union of building associations, which was used to pay for campaigns. We have not done that. If you claim that our program "Tallinn Helps" is a campaign, that is simply not true. I maintain we have not spent a single penny of city money on elections.
On the city's idea for subsidized food stores:
We looked at what was being done in England, and followed a few of their examples. This year we introduced cheaper medicines for the elderly, but next year, we will try to bring down food prices. It will be a serious pilot program if we succeed. [Deputy mayors] Merike Martinson and Taavi Aas and others are negotiating with supermarket chains on how to organize it. I think we will go through existing stores. I believe that next year we will get to the point that prices for certain staple goods will fall. We're talking here about the elderly consumer group and the goods that have increased in price the most.
It's good that people are coming to Tallinn [referring to a short-term spike in resident registration when free public transport was introduced]. In four years, Tallinn has gained 22,000 people. This is the difference between us and [Prime Minister] Ansip. He's got people leaving Estonia, while we have people arriving in Tallinn.
On the three most important campaign pledges in Tallinn:
We will double spending on the school food system. [Second,] the new [Lutheran] church in Mustamäe. [Third,] the Ülemiste infrastructure project will be followed by the Haabersti intersection. But I would tack on the food prices issue. This is a relatively revolutionary step and I hope we will make it happen. I'm not afraid of taking that step.