Reform Party nominates Illar Lemetti new Viimsi municipality mayor

Ministry of Rural Affairs ex-official Illar Lemetti being interviewed by ERR late last year.
Ministry of Rural Affairs ex-official Illar Lemetti being interviewed by ERR late last year. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The rural municipality coalition at Viimsi, just outside Tallinn, is to nominate Illar Lemetti as mayoral candidate. Lemetti has given his consent to the nomination, it is reported.

Lemetti hit the headlines in late November after being released from his long-term post as Secretary General of the rural affairs ministry by the national government. Lemetti had been a whistle-blower regarding activities by former rural affairs minister Mart Järvik (EKRE), who was released from office on the same day.

Lemetti's release from office was met with widespread criticism and claims of martyrdom, while he received an apology from President Kersti Kaljulaid.

The previous Viimsi municipal mayor, Laine Randjärv (Reform), resigned in early December following criticisms over her handling of bullying claims at a school in the rural municipality, which saw her fire the school's principal (a decision which was overturned by the municipal government).

Reform Party member Mart Vooglaid, told ERR Monday that Lemetti is to meet with representatives of the Viimsi rural municipality council on Wednesday.

"If our association approves Lemetti, the council will be able to vote on his candidacy next week ," Vooglaid noted. 

The Reform Party is in office in Viimsi with Isamaa and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and has a majority.

Lemetti himself is not a member of Reform or any other party, and according to Vooglaid, the Reform Party has not made being mayor conditional on membership.

Vooglaid noted that they were looking for a municipal elder with management experience, an understanding of the functioning of state mechanisms and an administrative capacity. 

"We want effective management of the municipality," said Vooglaid.

Lemetti was proposed by Taavi Kotka, who himself was elected to the council list by the Reform Party. Kotka is a former Chief information officer of the Estonian Government, and one of the driving forces behind the e-Residency program.

The development could also be seen as reflecting a trend in national government for appointing non-partisan functionaries to political posts, as well as on a local level in Kotka's case; both Mart Järvik's replacement, Arvo Aller, and Minister for Foreign Trade and IT, Kaimar Karu, appointed in November, come from specialist backgrounds in their fields, though Aller is an EKRE member.

Vooglaid said Lemetti didn't propose himself for the role.

 "The other way round, we had to work to convince him," he said.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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