Reform Party mayoral candidate: Center likely to retain power in Tallinn ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

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Tallinn city council. Source: Tallinna linnavalitsus

Major political parties are preparing their manifestos and lists for the upcoming local government elections in October. The policies and candidates will be introduced in summer, while the electoral poster campaign will, in line with Estonian electoral advertizing law, start later.

The Reform Party's Tallinn mayoral candidate, Kristen Michal, says that it is hard to evaluate if the Center Party's exclusive power will continue, though adding this is likely.

However, he says, his party doesn't exclude operating as a coalition partner with Center in the capital, as it does now in the national government.

"I think that the Center Party will probably be in the next coalition; in what form depends on the election results," Michal said.

Center hasn't officially confirmed their mayor candidate. The probable candidate will be the current incumbent Mihhail Kõlvart, ERR reports. Party Secretary-General Andre Hanimägi said that Center's aim is to win the elections and continue ruling alone in the capital, which requires an absolute majority at the council chambers.

"The main question of the election will be how to do things better, and how to get this possibility from the Center Party," Hanimägi said.

Eesti 200's Tallinn head, Marek Reinaas, noted that in his opinion, a situation where the Center Party or another party fills half of the city council's seats, will not, however, happen.

"We'll definitely go to the coalition even if it brings along changes. There is no point in going to the city government to spend time there," Reinaas, whose party is not represented at the Riigikogu or, since it was formed since the last local elections in 2017, in the municipalities, said.

Eesti 200's mayoral candidate will be announced in May. As noted Eesti 200 is participating in the local government elections for the first time and will participate with their list in 50 local governments from the total 79.

The mayoral candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDE), Raimon Kaljulaid, also a Riigikogu MP, said that besides the Tallinn coalition, it is interesting to follow the operating of smaller parties, in terms of representation. These smaller parties are Isamaa, in addition to his own party and Eesti 200, he said.

The local government results will also serve as a bell-weather for the next Riigikogu elections in 2023, he added.

"It will be interesting to follow which one of those three smaller parties, will have the best result. I think this will actually give an indication of how the parliamentary elections turn out in 2023," Kaljulaid said.

The election programs for the capital elections are almost ready, and they will be introduced in spring. More intense campaigning will start in August, after the presidential elections (which are not direct elections but, depending on how things pan out, can involve several rounds at the Riigikogu and in the provinces through August-September - ed.), Michal said.

"When we look at the political sphere, then the presidential elections is the next great political matter," Michal noted.

Campaign posters will appear on the streets and public spaces later than usual, ERR repprts. The preparations are ongoing.

The local government elections will take place on October 17. All residents of Estonia are eligible to vote, not only citizens.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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