Center Party ousted from Valga municipality

Center Party.
Center Party. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Following a vote of no-confidence in council chair Külliki Siilak (Center) Friday, the Center Party is most likely no longer a partner in the municipal government of the South Estonian border town of Valga, as reported on ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera".

Reform remains in office after its leader there, Margus Lepik, retained his seat, but it looks likely that the Reform-Center power bloc is over.

A new coalition lineup is yet to be decided, with negotiations between Reform, Isamaa and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) ongoing.

Center has the most seats in the Valga City Council, but not enough to govern alone.

"A new coalition has not been born today. It is just at planning stage – a plan to establish a coalition with three partners, but negotiations are under way though we have no final agreements," Kaupo Kutsar (SDE), Valga rural municipality councilor told "Aktuaalne kaamera".

Kutser added that open government was important for the municipality, allowing the free discussion of significant issues.

Friday's activities also led to a change in the rules and a shrinking in the size of the rural municipality government, down to five, with two instead of four deputy governor.

Alar Nääme, chairman of the Center Party's Valga County branch, said that if the talks on the future power union failed, they would be ready to negotiate in any case: "Otherwise, we will really be in opposition."

According to ERR, difficulties in the Valga rural municipality point towards problems with integrating the town and its surrounding villages and settlements into one municipality, which all feel a stake in. This has also led to an increase in bureaucracy and managerial aspirations at council level, it is reported.

Valga lies right on the Latvian border; its twin town, Valka, is historically essentially the same town, separated when both countries first became independent and the border drawn up, over 100 years ago. Since Latvia and Estonian both joined the Schengen Area of free movement over 10 years ago, movement between the two towns is usually straightforward.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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