Center Party nominates Aleksandr Širokov Tartu deputy mayor candidate

Thursday evening's Center Party Tartu branch meeting.
Thursday evening's Center Party Tartu branch meeting. Source: ERR

The Center Party's Tartu regional board chose Aleksandr Širokov as candidate for new deputy mayor in the southern Estonian town.

"The new deputy mayoral candidate is Aleksandr Širokov, who is currently mayor of Peipsiääre rural municipality," Jaan Toots, Tartu district leader of the Center Party, told ERR after the party's board meeting.

According to Toots, several members of the regional board proposed Shirokov, whose candidacy was supported by all Board members, he said.

Širokov himself is not actually a Center member at present, but was from 2013-2017; he is currently not a member of any political party, but has pledged to re-join Center should he be elected as deputy mayor.

Širokov was kicked out of Center in 2017 after running against the party at the Peipsiääre municipality.

After meeting with the Center Party's district board, Širokov was confident in his abilities for the role if elected.

 "If I could handle being both mayor of Kallaste and the mayor of Lake Peipsi, I can handle anything," he told ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Thursday evening.

In 2007, Širokov, who is connected with log-cabin company Oskur Puit AS, hit the national headlines when he erected a controversial memorial to the victims of fascism, while working as Kallaste mayor (Kallaste is on the shores of Lake Peipsi, close to Širokov's current fiefdom at Peipsiääre-ed.).

Širokov had tussled with the city's municipality on the issue of where the stone used in the monument had come from.

Before Širokov, or anyone else, could become Tartu Deputy Mayor, the current incumbent, Monica Rand, would need to step down. Rand was expelled from the Center Party earlier in the week, after refusing to honor a November agreement under which her role would have expired on January 1.

In late September of last year, newly-elected Tartu chapter chairman Jaan Toots and the new board of the Center Party's Tartu chapter sought the removal of Tartu Deputy Mayor Monica Rand and Madis Lepajoe. An attempt was made to also remove city council chair Aadu Must, but the board of the party was opposed.

After expelling Rand from the party, the Center Party will be able to initiate a vote of no confidence in Rand on Tartu city council.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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