Tartu mayor: Center Party's fight over power started getting disruptive

Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas (Reform) on
Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas (Reform) on "Esimene stuudio." January 22, 2020. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

In an appearance on ETV's "Esimene stuudio" on Wednesday night, Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas (Reform) said that the Center Party had tried to get him involved in resolving their internal dispute, but added that the party itself should be handling that. The discord within Reform's Tartu coalition partner finally started getting disruptive to the work of the city government.

The confusion in Tartu politics went on too long, Klaas said, and it was time to achieve peace.

"I believe that all internal squabbles should be resolved within the party itself," he said in response to the host suggesting he could have helped the Center Party out. "It's true, they attempted to suck me into this game and find a solution to their issues, but that is not what the Reform Party and I should be dealing with."

The mayor said that cooperation with the Center Party in Tartu has been very good over the years, however ongoing disagreements within Center didn't allow Reform to cooperate with its coalition partner anymore.

"Of course, when you have this fight over power in one party and when it's constantly smoldering there behind you like a battle echo, then while the city government worked and tried its best, it still ultimately started getting disruptive," he said, explaining why Reform decided to cease cooperation with the Center Party.

He declined, however, to comment on how Jaan Toots, chairman of the Center Party's Tartu chapter, should have acted.

"I don't want to and have refrained from teaching my colleagues in the Center Party, and I don't want to rebuke them after the fact now either; that's not my style," Klaas said. "But it's clear that the recommendations I gave were such that things needed to be discussed within the party, and that a solution to their problems had to be found peacefully. Unfortunately, for one reason or another — which I am not able to assess, because I am not privy to all of the Center Party's internal affairs — this did not successfully happen."  


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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