Tartu SDE and Reform Party start coalition discussions over common ground ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Heljo Pikhof and Urmas Klaas.
Heljo Pikhof and Urmas Klaas. Source: Madis Hindre/ERR

Representatives of the Reform Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) in Tartu met on Tuesday to discuss forming a coalition to find common ground.

Heljo Pikhof, leader of the SDE Tartu region, and Urmas Klaas, the mayor of the Reform Party, told ERR the parties had found agreement on issues related to the environment and town planning and, so far, there were no major differences.

Klaas said the SDE and Reform Party want to further develop the living environment in Tartu so the city would be attractive to new people, including young people and encouraging students to stay.

Klaas told ERR the parties want to further develop cycling networks, to expand both in the city of Tartu and to neighboring municipalities.

Pikhof said the SDE wants to connect Maarjamõisa better with light traffic and public transport, also acknowledging public transport is already very well organized.

From an environmentally friendly approach, Pikhof also highlighted the expansion of the cup circulation scheme which started last year. Pikhof, said SDE wants to set up an environmental commission.

Speaking about the promise made by the SDE during the election to repair the green space between the Emajõgi River and the Anne Canal, Pikhof said that it would go ahead and could come to fruition next year.

There was no discussion on how the parties proceed procedurally with the coalition and how city government positions are distributed.

"We have agreed that we will leave staffing topics and such issues until later discussions. So far, discussions have confirmed such issues must be discussed once the substantive issues have been agreed," said Klaas.

Klaas has previously said he wants to continue with the same team of Reform Party deputy mayors.

Negotiations with culture, education and social issues will continue on Wednesday. One of the main concerns of the SDE is to keep kindergarten fees unchanged.

The previous coalition between the Center Party and the Reform Party collapsed earlier this week.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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