A no-confidence motion against mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar, launched by the Reform Party at the Tallinn City Council failed on Tuesday, as the opposition did not muster enough votes.
The members of Savisaar’s Center Party faction did not attend the vote. Since Savisaar has still not explained his visit to the Sochi Olympics and statements he made about the Ukrainian Maidan movement, the opposition plans to keep the pressure on him, ETV reported on Tuesday.
Out of a total of 79 members, only 26 council members voted for the motion. Despite the failure the opposition said at least they could voice their disapproval of the mayor going to Sochi on the taxpayers’ expense and making controversial statements about Ukraine.
“His last statements on Ukraine and the referendum in Crimea are clearly against not just Estonian, but European interests, detrimental to Estonian-Ukrainian relations,” said Eerik-Niiles Kross, head of the IRL faction in the city council.
Martin Kukk from the Reform Party, who initiated the no-confidence motion, said that the absence of Center Party members from the vote indicates their waning support for Savisaar. When there was a no-confidence vote against deputy mayor Mihhail Kõlvart, the faction showed up to vote in support of him and stated that their votes indicated their trust in Kõlvart.
Several senior Center Party members have publicly disagreed with Savisaar’s opinions on Ukraine.
The only Center Party member present was the chairman of the session Toomas Vitsut, who said Savisaar expressed his personal views.
“I wouldn’t say the comments of the mayor are in such a stark contrast to the principles and positions Europe has expressed. I repeat, everyone has the right to say what they think is right,” Vitsut said.
The mayor of Riga, Nils Ushakovs, commented on the Crimean referendum a day earlier and said the city cannot afford to lose the Russian tourists and investors due to sanctions.
During the session, the Social Democrats already began collecting signatures for another non-confidence motion, focusing on underfunded education, a lack of kindergarten places and increasing salaries of top Tallinn officials.