A deputy mayor in Tartu is to step down in order to run for Eesti 200 at the March 5 Riigikogu election.
Gea Kangilaski, who was deputy mayor with the Social Democrats (SDE), cited a lack of confidence between her and SDE's Tartu branch, ERR reports.
Kangilaski posted on her social media account that: "Today (Monday – ed.), I informed Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas and chair of SDE's Tartu region, Kadri Leetmaa, that I am resigning as Deputy Mayor of Tartu."
Kangilaski says she plans to continue to sit on Tarty city council and will join Eesti 200 ahead of the election.
Kangilaski left SDE's Tartu region board in October – she had been regional deputy chair until that time – and applied to leave the party in November, though according to SDE's official register she was still listed as a member as of Monday, ERR reports.
When she resigned, in late October 2022, Kangilaski stated that SDE in Tartu at least exhibited an unfriendly leadership culture, and a tendency towards favoritism, while several other party members also resigned at the time.
Kangilaski picked up 690 votes in the October 2021 local elections, just 23 votes behind the best performing SDE candidate in Tartu City, Lemmit Kaplinski.
In the 2019 Riigikogu elections, she received 802 votes, the third highest result for any SDE candidate in Tartu, after sitting MP Heljo Pikhof and veteran politician and academic Marju Lauristin.
City councilors may simultaneously hold a Riigikogu seat, though if appointed to a local government position or to council leadership, must relinquish that seat (or vice versa, if appointed to the national government or the Riigikogu board, they may not hold a local government seat).
Around half of MPs hold a local government seat also.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja