Raimond Kaljulaid warns against Centre, Reform deals with EKRE in Tallinn

Raimond Kaljulaid at Monday's SDE meeting which elected him Tallinn branch chair.
Raimond Kaljulaid at Monday's SDE meeting which elected him Tallinn branch chair. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

New Social Democratic Party (SDE) Tallinn branch chair Raimond Kaljulaid says he fears that either the Reform Party or the Centre Party will go into coalition with the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) at the Tallinn City Council, following the 2021 local elections.

Kaljulaid, who joined SDE late last year and is a Riigikogu MP as well as a city councilor, said that chair of Reform's city government chamber grouping Kristan Michal might favor the move.

Reform is currently in opposition at both Tallinn and national level, as is SDE; Centre has been in a national government coalition with EKRE since late April.

Kaljulaid added that EKRE could be the one obstacle to his plans to bring SDE out of opposition and into office at the next local elections.

"First and foremost, there are no questions, bar one party. As far as this one government party is concerned, let us not mention the name of this party, one such right-wing party with which many parties did not want to cooperate at the national level but still did later," he added, speaking on daily Postimees online broadcast Otse Postimehest, and clearly referring to EKRE.

"Personally, this worries me. I think that the Reform Party could discuss this at its board level, for example. I have in mind the position of their branch chair (and city government group chair-ed.), Kristen Michal, that it would be advantageous and good to bring EKRE to power in the capital," Kaljulaid said, adding that there is also a widespread belief that engaging EKRE in power will unveil its true face - an inability to actually do anything.

"I do not believe in this [belief]. I think that if they (ie. EKRE-ed.) were to be empowered, it will give them more resonance," Kaljulaid, who joined SDE two months ago, said, giving party support polls as grounds for this belief.

"EKRE has not lost support in the government. They have not gained it, either, but they also have not lost it. I think it would be wise for Tallinn to refrain from forming a coalition like the one formed in the country," Kaljulaid, who quit the Centre Party in April on the issue of its ongoing talks with EKRE, said.

"I hope that there are people within those (i.e. Centre and Reform-ed.) parties who think differently. I hope that this decision will be returned to. I do not wish to put pressure on them; after all, this is an internal matter for those two parties, but if I were among their leadership, I would raise this issue," Kaljulaid said.

According to Kaljulaid, pursuit of power at all costs is unwise.

"However, if a party develops a good program, people come to the elections and support that program, every effort must be made to implement the plan. What good are these strong ideas if they are just hidden in a desk drawer for four years?" Kaljulaid said, adding that the work of the opposition is important, too.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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