The Reform Party, Isamaa and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) signed an agreement Friday which will see them govern Estonia's second city, Tartu, in coalition. Urmas Klaas (Reform) will stay on as Tartu mayor. The new coalition's term will include Tartu's year as European Capital of Culture, in 2024.
Reform will also put up two deputy mayors and the deputy council chair, the council chair themselves, along with one deputy mayor, will come from Isamaa, while SDE gets two deputy mayors.
Urmas Klaas said the new coalition's priorities will include developing business and living environment in the city, in the interests of creating jobs and making Tartu an attractive place to live.
Klaas said: "We will pay great attention to the quality of education in schools and kindergartens in Tartu as the center of education of Estonia and to the renovation of school buildings."
"We will be preparing for Tartu as European Capital of Culture in 2024 with the most visible and exciting program, and we will establish a culture center in the heart of the city," Klaas went on.
Isamaa Tartu branch head Kaspar Kokk focused on education.
He said: "We consider it important to switch all kindergartens and basic schools to Estonian-language education."
Reform also sees Estonian-only education nationwide as desirable.
SDE's Tartu branch chair Heljo Pikhof agreed about the importance of kindergartens, or at least their availability, and also focused on another SDE central policy plank, more cycle lanes.
Pikhof said that: "Kindergarten services will not become more expensive for parents over the next four years, although we will invest in teachers' salaries and buildings. Secondly, we reached a consensus on the pace of construction of cycle lanes, the city center in its connection with the [Emajõgi] river and the urban space being adjusted for people with additional needs."
While Tartu has long been a Reform stronghold, the party, as now, has ruled in coalition, unlike Center in Tallinn, whose absolute majority was only removed by the narrowest of margins at the October 17 election.
Editor: Andrew Whyte