Gallery: Kohtla-Järve coalition negotiations make progress

Progress has been made in coalition negotiations in the eastern Estonian town of Kohtla-Järve, which has been without a city government since early October when a corruption scandal led to the previous administration leaving office.

A meeting on Thursday evening presented Virve Linder, a former high school teacher, as the new potential mayor.

Linder won a seat on the city's council at the October 2021 local elections, where she ran for the Restart Kohtla-Järve list.

Regional daily Põhjakannik reports (link in Estonian) one candidate for deputy mayor is Henri Kaselo (SDE): Kaselo is also chief of the party's Harju County branch.

Jevgenia Maksimova, the long-serving manager of a nearby nursing home, is another deputy mayoral candidate, Põhjarannik says, while the post of deputy mayor for culture and education is likely to be contested by Restart Kohtla-Järve and the Center Party.

SDE MP Eduard Odinets is tipped as new council chair. Odinets is also the party's secretary general.

Coalition negotiations have been running for two weeks now following a corruption scandal which linked the majority of the Kohtla-Järve city government to a local businessman, Nikolai Ossipenko who, Odinets and others have claimed, in effect runs the city and adjacent areas, in terms of municipal service tenders.

The new coalition is made up of those councilors untainted by the scandal, meaning it is actually in a minority (13 members out of a 25-seat council), and consisting of SDE, Center and Restart Kohtla-Järve.

The three parties say they hope to reach a coalition agreement before next Monday's council meeting, at which it is planned that the council chair will be elected. The city government is expected to be established at a meeting on November 24.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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