EKRE suspects corruption involved in Elva coalition formation

Elva municipality building.
Elva municipality building. Source: ERR

Whereas initially, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), Isamaa Party and Center Party were meant to form a coalition in the South Estonian town of Elva, it is now clear now that the coalition will consist of the Reform Party and the electoral alliance Sinu Elva Vald instead, prompting one EKRE MP, Peeter Ernits, to say corruption is involved.

Isamaa, EKRE and Center started coalition negotiations after the local government elections in October, as happened across most of the 79 municipalities.

Since choosing the election of the council chair, a significant post, failed, the revised coalition is to be formed by the Reform Party, Sinu Elva Vald and three other council members. Sulev Kuus, who ran forthe Center Party, was elected council chair, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported Tuesday.

Kuus justified the switch in the partners with the argument that the initial coalition wouldn't have had a long future. 

"If the votes don't hold and there are continuous problems at the negotiations, then there's no point in flogging a dead horse," Kuus commented.

EKRE MP Peeter Ernits said, however, that the coalition would have stayed in place if Kuus hadn't decided to change his vote.

Ernits alleges Kuus' change of heart in the context of Kuus having been hired to collect votes for the Center Party receiving a loan from the Rural Development Foundation (MES), on favorable terms. Ernits also submitted a questions to the Internal Security Service (ISS), where he wishes to know if Minister for Public Administration - effectively regional minister - Jaak Aab (Center), and rural affairs minister Urmas Kruuse (Reform) have between them impacted Kuus' decisions.

"In my opinion, they have come to him to with these millions from MES to get a list for the Center Party. I'm talking about Jaak Aab. There are suspicions that Kuus entered the party with a concession that he will get more favorable loan terms," Ernits said.

Kuus rejected this though.

"This is absurd, it's somebody's fantasy. Have I ever even used the term 'MES' with a Center Party member? I don't think so, not to mention anything else. I am wondering how Jaak Aab is supposed to be connected to this. An individual who is completely outside of the local government or my business," Kuus said.

The coalition's electoral alliance Sinu Elva Vald's member Marika Saar said that Ernits' appeal to the ISS is not justified and is related to disappointment regarding the results.

"During this whole period, there were signs of people looking for a broader-based solution that the EKRE, Isamaa and Center coalition, but it only turned out last week that the coalition we're forming right now, is possible to form," Saar added.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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