Isamaa's Tartu branch chief Kaspar Kokk told ETV morning program "Terevisioon" that the party plans to conclude coalition negotiations in Estonia's second city on Wednesday, ahead of signing a coalition deal at the end of the week.
Kokk said that over the past eight days, substantive issues have been discussed and now places in the city government are going to be divided up between Isamaa, Reform and the Social Democrats (SDE). "We're hoping to sign the contract by the end of the week."
The Reform Party won 19 seats, SDE and Isamaa five seats each. The tripartite lineup gives a majority at Tartu's 49 seat city council.
Kokk said that the main issues are related to a proposed cultural center (SüKu), which may end up being constructed in a city center park, and continuing with the administrative reform. Plans are also in place to present more precise proposals to rail operator Eesti Raudtee, on how to make the rail link between Tartu and Tallinn significantly faster.
"It is clear that today the coalition's goal is to build SüKu," he said. They consider it important that the house creates a new city space and gives additional value. For that, an international architecture competition is going to be organized.
Kokk noted that regarding the cultural center, a situation has arisen where people are talking about something they actually don't have any knowledge about.
"The election period has fed the fears. Supporters of the center city park or opponents to SüKu have described something in their election campaigns that don't exist and caused fear.
"I personally think that through a detailed plan and this international competition foreign architects who have already done such projects elsewhere will come here and know exactly what to do."
Kristina Kallas: The city space needs to be reconstructed
Chair of opposition Eesti 200 Kristina Kallas said that currently, the danger of Tartu's marginalization remains. "Will we stay this sweet little university city forever?" Kallas opined.
"Today the problem is that we don't have attractive job positions in the private sector, this is the key question for Tartu's development," she said.
Kallas also said that Tartu could be an example of good waste management.
"Fulfilling climate goals, preserving green lands, reconstructing the waste management, transport and city space."
"Reducing green areas is definitely not the direction Tartu should go," Kallas said, returning to the topic of SüKu.
She added that there are controversies in Tartu about the preservation of other green areas in the city center: "The interaction between developments and green areas has not gone very well in Tartu lately and people's dissatisfaction in this regard is very high."
Kallas predicted that the coalition would not face simple negotiations and that it would be difficult for the coalition to reach an agreement on issues related to SüKu.
Editor: Roberta Vaino