Ex-National Opera chief Aivar Mäe elected municipal mayor of Põhja-Pärnumaa

Aivar Mäe.
Aivar Mäe. Source: ERR

Põhja-Pärnumaa Municipal Council on Wednesday elected ex-Estonian National Opera director Aivar Mäe mayor of the municipality. Mäe's monthly salary has been set at €3,500.

In a speech addressing the municipal council, Mäe, who was nominated as a candidate in the electoral alliance "Meie Vald" ("Our Municipality"), said that Põhja-Pärnumaa Municipality has to be a good partner to the state and create conditions to support entrepreneurship as well as contribute more to education. He also noted the importance of contributing to the development of cultural life in the municipality as well.

Mäe earned 15 of the 21-member municipal council's votes Wednesday.

Councilmember Eva Kruuse, who had been nominated to the position by the electoral alliance "Inimeste Eest" ("On Behalf of the People"), received five votes.

Speaking to ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera," Mäe said that he resides mostly in Põhja-Pärnumaa, but he was not informed yet of the concerns facing the municipality and was thus starting the job with a blank slate. He admitted that had he been aware of all of the municipality's problems, he may not have run for municipal mayor after all.

"In the current time of crises, where one crisis follows another, this is actually a challenge, and if you come out of it alive, then that's a big deal," he said.

Põhja-Pärnumaa's previous municipal mayor Rein Kontus resigned in mid-June after a no-confidence vote against him in the municipal council passed. In the meantime, deputy municipal mayor Tarvi Tasane had been serving as acting municipal mayor.

Resignation following sexual harassment allegations

In August 2020, Aivar Mäe resigned as director of the Estonian National Opera after being accused by National Opera employees of sexual harassment — allegations which were first reported in the Estonian media that June, prompting a police investigation.

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) fined Mäe €400 in connection with the case, which was later annulled in court.

After leaving his position at the National Opera, Mäe worked as project manager for Viimsi Haldus and consulted on the construction of a new cultural center in Viimsi.

Põhja-Pärnumaa Municipal Council set the new municipal mayor's monthly salary at €3,500, marking an increase from the previous €3,200.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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