Isamaa has replaced the Center Party in Pärnu's city government, after signing a new coalition agreement with Reform and electoral alliance Pärnu Ühendab. The development means Center is now in opposition, and follows wrangling over the funding of the construction of a new bridge planned for the city center.
The electoral alliance Pärnu Ühendab, led by the town's mayor, Romek Kosenkranius signed the coalition agreement with the Reform Party and Isamaa on Wednesday, which they mayor said did not represent any significant change on that signed last November following the autumn local elections.
Kosenkranius told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) that: "Isamaa's proposals within the coalition agreement were quite similar to what we had been discussing before. There have been no major changes, and Pärnu will continue on the same course."
"However, there are several important nuances regarding green energy, kindergarten fees, and the Pärnu bridge issue which have also been made more concrete," he added.
The city had recently requested €25 million from the state, in order to go ahead with the new bridge and in the wake of soaring construction prices.
Council chair Andrei Korobeinik (Center) wrote an opinion piece for ERR late last week which flagged the imminent changeover of power, though Mayor Kosenkranius denied at the time that he was trying to replace Center in the coalition.
Korobeinik is to face a vote of no-confidence today, Thursday, though says he has no plans to respond in kind towards Kosenkranius.
Korobeinik, a former MP, told AK that: "The mayor is either lying or has holes in his memory. As a native of Pärnu, I am very worried that the city a mayor like this. So we will try to ascertain the situation, and see what happens."
Andres Metsoja, who signed the coalition agreement on behalf of the incoming Isamaa, agreed that not major changes in planned developments for the city of around 40,000 people, as found in the preceding coalition agreement.
Metsoja also sits at the Riigikogu, though is likely also to be council chair in Pärnu – MPs may also hold local council seats, and around half of them do.
Agnes Pulk, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) council chair, also charged Mayor Kosenkranius with long-term corruption, dishonesty and the violation of regulations.
Electoral alliances such as Pärnu Ühendab are common in local government and often end up in coalition with the major national parties.
Editor: Andrew Whyte