Mustamäe district elder and Center Party member Lauri Laats received the second-most votes in Estonia during the local government elections last week - 8,466 votes. Laats told ERR that the result is an advance from the voters for the upcoming period.
Laats received 8,466 votes, only trailing Tallinn mayor and Center Party partner Mihhail Kõlvart, who captured 27,736 votes.
The Mustamäe district elder visited ETV's current affairs show "Ringvaade" on Monday and said he has been active in his district since 2009 and has involved many locals during his time as district elder. "My leadership style is one of involvement. I ask, involve, do many things together and that is a positive thing," he said.
"I have had the opportunity to work in Mustamäe for the last four years, developing the district and I think this result is an assessment of my work and an advance, in some sense," Laats noted. "Speaking about an advance, we have prepared a new program for the upcoming period and we spoke about it and were asked multiple questions during our active campaigning this month."
He said you have to be honest with your voters. "I am there and solve issues at a micro level. And you have to be honest with the people. If there is an issue that is solvable, we can solve it. And if there are issues that I cannot solve, I have to say it is not in my competence," Laats said.
He said the Center Party, which received 38 seats on the 79-seat Tallinn city council - two short of an absolute majority - did not achieve what they aimed for. "Our work would have deserved 40+ votes and we were a loser in that sense," Laats said.
He could not say if he will end up a Tallinn deputy mayor or will continue as the district elder of Mustamäe. "It is still too early to talk about it. The people of Mustamäe want me to stay in Mustamäe," Laats said.
He told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Monday evening that working as a district elder for four years has certainly given him an advantage in elections. A picture of the district elder and an editorial from the man is in the local newspaper in Mustamäe each month. A cardboard cutout of Laats can be seen in malls and marketplaces around the district.
"If we take a competitor like Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), his voice was heard all over, in all channels. His picture was also everywhere, he went everywhere and swept up all of Tallinn. But the people of Mustamäe did not like this attitude, it also means on picture in a paper cannot affect election results," Laats said.
The Mustamäe district elder was far ahead of competitors such as EKRE chairman Martin Helme, justice minister Maris Lauri (Reform) and Center chairman Jüri Ratas in Mustamäe.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste