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SDE nominate Henri Kaselo as Kohtla-Järve mayor

Henri Kaselo.
Henri Kaselo. Source: SDE

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) has proposed a new mayor for the Ida-Viru County town of Kohtla-Järve, which has been without a city government since October.

SDE are to name Henri Kaselo as mayor of the town of 35,000 people, plus the party's secretary general, Eduard Odinets, as city council chair.

Monday sees an off-schedule meeting take place at Kohtla-Järve city council chambers, where the nominations will be made.

Jelena Mutonen, vice-chair of the party's council group, said of Kaselo that he is willing to relocate to Ida-Viru County to take on the role, to which he will bring a new perspective.

She said: "Henri Kaselo's experience with Tallinn City Government and Tartu City Council, the European Parliament, connections in EU institutions, independence from local businessmen and an open attitude towards all political forces convinced the SDE to invite him to run for mayor."

"We are extremely happy that Henri has given his consent. Kohtla-Järve needs someone like him to lead the city," Mutonen went on.

Of Odinets' nomination, Mutonen cited his knowledge from having worked in the city's council and in local government for several years

"These are precisely the skills and qualities our city needs to emerge from a deep leadership crisis," Mutonen added.

Odinets, Kaselo and the nominated vice-chairs will need to receive a majority of 13 or more at the 25-seat council in order to enter office.

Eduard Odinets also sits at the Riigikogu; MPs are entitled to hold a local council seat also, and around a half of them do just that.

The SDE proposal follows earlier efforts, which fell through, to install Viru Prison manager Virve Linder as mayor and local high school director Hendrik Agur as council chair.

Kohtla-Järve has been without a city government for several weeks following a vote of no-confidence in the last administration, which was engulfed in corruption allegations relating to a local businessman and the alleged preferential doling out of city contracts in the town, and also in nearby Jõhvi.

The city council needs to elect a new mayor and council chair before year-end. If it does not, under the regulations the council composition, elected at the October 2021 local elections, would have to be dissolved.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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