Pärnu mayor denies attempting to oust Center Party from coalition
Mayor of Pärnu Romek Kosenkranius (Pärnu Ühendab) denies claims that he is seeking to remove the Center Party from the city's government, adding that it is Center who are attempting to ring the changes, amid controversy over the potential issuing of several million euros of state funds for the construction of a bridge in the city.
"I have not made any proposal to anyone to replace the Center Party [in the coalition]," Kosenkranius told ERR.
"We heard yesterday that they had proposed to form a coalition with Isamaa and EKRE in Pärnu on Thursday. I don't know any more than that," he added.
Council chair Andrei Korobeinik penned an opinion piece for ERR (link in Estonian) which published Saturday in which he claimed that Kosenkranius planned to switch-out Center for Isamaa on the city government of the southwestern Estonian town of 40,000 people.
Korobeinik claimed that the move followed promises for a €5-million entry into the state budget, currently under discussion at cabinet level, for the construction of a new bridge in Pärnu link.
The pledge had come from Andres Metsoja (Isamaa) and Toomas Kivimägi (Reform), Korobeinik said.
Isamaa and Reform are in office at the national level, whereas Center is in opposition.
Kosenkranius reiterated that he could not comment on the claims, adding that Center itself had proposed a coalition with Isamaa and the Conservative People's Paryt of Estonia (EKRE), which would exclude his electoral alliance.
Metsoja and Kivimägi were unavailable for comment at the time of writing.
Pärnu's city government has consisted of a coalition of the Pärnu Ühendab electoral alliance, the Reform Party and the Center Party, since November 22 last year and following the October local elections.
Metsoja and Kivimägi had reportedly earlier blocked the allocation of €8.6 million from the state budget for the bridge construction.
Pärnu recently requested €25 million from the government to construct the new bridge, citing rising construction prices.
Electoral alliances are a common facet of local government in Estonia, and ostensibly provide voters with a region-specific alternative to the main national parties.
Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Aleksander Krjukov