EKRE to run in Narva local elections for the first time

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Mart Helme (EKRE). Source: Vladislava Snurnikova/ERR

The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) is planning to put out their own list of candidates in the northeastern city of Narva in local government elections in October, party deputy chairman Mart Helme said.

Helme spoke to journalists in Ida-Viru County on Wednesday and admitted that Narva was previously a weakness of EKRE, calling the city a "completely blank spot".

The former interior minister said the situation stemmed from the party just not having enough resources to act in Ida-Viru, as they focused on regions where support was already strong.

Now, EKRE is planning to strenthen its presence in northeastern Estonia, Helme said. The controversial politician said the party is planning to take its own list of candidates to many Ida-Viru local municipality governments, including Narva. Speaking on who can contribute to EKRE's actions in Ida-Viru County, Helme said they could be locals who have not yet participated in politics.

He admitted that there are certain differences between EKRE and Russian-speaking voters in Estonia. There are also similarities. "We have good balance between Estonians and Russians today. We do not want to ruin that," the party deputy chairman noted.

EKRE's move toward Narva comes as no surprise as the party has discussed entering northeastern Estonian politics earlier. Previously popular Center has taken many hits recently, causing support for the party to drop significantly, opening a window for other parties to act in Ida-Viru County.

EKRE has not participated in elections in Narva earlier. In local elections in 2017, Center, Reform, Isamaa, Edgar Savisaar's list of candidates and electoral blocs "Patrioot" and "Meie Narva" ran. 23 Center members and eight "Meie Narva" members ended up on the city council.

After previous Narva mayor Aleksei Jevgrafov (Center) lost a vote of no confidence brought against him by Narva City Council in November, a power vaccuum developed in the city. The opening was eventually filled with Social Democratic Party MP Katri Raik, who gave up her place in the Riigikogu for her "dream job".

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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