Valga municipality council elects new leader ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Development manager of Sõle Sports Center Alar Nääme.
Development manager of Sõle Sports Center Alar Nääme. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Valga municipality council elected Alar Nääme (Center Party) as it's leader, a former elder of Tallinn city center on Friday.

Alar Nääme, who currently works as the development manager of Sõle Sports Center and is chairman of the Center Party's Valga County branch, said the emergency situation in Estonia does not give him a long time to adjust to his new role.

After his election, Nääme said that people's health and related issues were a priority at the moment. "I'm a team player and I believe the local community is more united than ever," he said.

Nääme said the municipality will do its utmost to ensure that businesses can continue as much as possible.

In 2016, Harju County Court convicted Nääme of embezzlement. As a public official, he was illegally accused of using the budget of the City of Tallinn for approximately €2,800.

Tallinn city government has dismissed Nääme from his position as elder of the city center (Kesklinn) district following his conviction in 2017.

The Valga rural municipality council consists of 27 people, the Center Party faction has 12 members. While having the majority of seats, it is not enough for Center to govern alone.

In January, the Reform-Center coalition which had been in power in Valga Municipality since the 2017 local government elections collapsed.

At the start of February, following a vote of no-confidence in council chair Külliki Siilak (Center), the Center Party looked unlikely to continue as a partner in the municipal government of the South Estonian border town.

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 but after the reintroduction of border restrictions implemented by the emergency situation, things have become difficult.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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