The Center Party's coalition negotiations with its new partner in Tallinn city government, the Social Democratic Party (SDE), contained no 'red-lines', Estonian: 'Punased joonid' – lines in the sand, in other words – returning Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) told ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) Tuesday evening, in an interview which follows.
Which areas proved most controversial, and on which issues?
It has to be said that substantive discussions took place in every area. However, it could not be stated that we did not end up with a mere compromise, but with a common approach.
Where were the 'red lines' closest?
Actually, there were no red lines on the table. We were able to resolve issues in a way that reflected the views and interests of both the parties.
Did SDE bring one of their election promises, namely that the city office, its institutes, be depoliticized and partisan people be removed from their positions?
Change and optimization in the city management system has been taking place over the past two years, while the city companies' and agencies' activities have also been optimized.
Did SDE raise this issue at the negotiations?
We, too, have a position that reflects this issue. We have the common understanding that there could be more experts on the boards, and this process has already gotten underway.
What were SDE's biggest election promises and ideas within the coalition agreement?
When both parties look at the content of the agreement, there is not a single point that does not live up to either party's promises or ideological platforms. The wording demonstrates that this is a joint program.
Is it known who will not continue as deputy mayor, because the Center Party now has fewer seats? (SDE will get three of the six deputy mayoral positions, whereas Center had filled all six prior to the October elections – ed.).
Yes, there is indeed an agreement that there is to be a common list with the partners' names.
Why did SDE get only one district elder? (Tallinn has eight districts, each with its own district government, subordinate to the city government and presided over by a district elder (Vallavanem). SDE is getting the Nõmme district elder, while Center retains the other seven – ed.).
This is a subjective question. In much the same way, one might ask, why did they get so many deputy mayors? In general, this should not be the overriding issue. We are still talking about responsibilities and areas, and it seems to me that the current formula is optimal.
Mihhail Kõlvart was talking to AK's Priit Kuusk.
Mihhail Kõlvart became Tallinn mayor in April 2019, replacing Taavi Aas, who became a government minister.
Editor: Andrew Whyte