Reform enters coalition with EKRE in Jõhvi

Jõhvi municipal elder Maris Toomel (Reform).
Jõhvi municipal elder Maris Toomel (Reform). Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

Reform is entering a coalition with the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) in the eastern Estonian town of Jõhvi, following this month's municipal elections. Reform's leader on the local council said that the previous four years had been tough, but with the new coalition line-up the hope was more stability and peace.

The two parties join a local electoral alliance, Ühis Jõhvi Eest, and have together a majority of 12 seats on the 21-seat chamber, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Wednesday night.

Maris Toomel (Reform) retains her post as rural municipality elder, while Vallo Reimaa of Ühis Jõhvi Eest has been appointed council chair.

Reimaa told AK that Jõhvi, Ida-Viru County, population around 10,000, needs to aim to restore its former regional standing and importance: "So that our neighbors are ready to talk to us, that we can cooperate and with it we will lead to a more positive future for the whole of Ida-Virumaa."

Maris Toomel said that peace and a stable governance must be ensured, hinting at difficult issues since the last local elections in 2017.

She said: "This is where we are starting from now. This four-year, very difficult cycle, in which I, as a councilor, and now as a rural municipality mayor, has for me been extremely tiring and extremely exhausting."

EKRE councilor and former rural affairs minister Arvo Aller said that the new coalition should last out the next four years.

He said: "All three of our links are very strong, and our coalition agreement is for four years from now, which we see as a perspective that can work in this coalition."

While polling day at the local elections was October 17, this has been followed by ongoing coalition discussions across many of the country's 79 municipalities.

Local electoral alliances are unique to the municipal elections and present a district-specific alternative to the mainstream parties, particularly in smaller towns. As a result, many coalitions involve these, along with a couple of the national parties as here.

While Reform and EKRE have been cast as political enemies on the national scale, with the realities of local politics, the awarding of business contracts, patronage etc. means that such idealism is often put to one side.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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