Tallinn's city council in disarray due to dispute between EKRE and Reform

Tallinn City Council building.
Tallinn City Council building. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Due to fierce opposition between the Reform Party and EKRE, the Tallinn City Council is unable to fill the second vice-chair position of the opposition. The Center Party wants the opposition to agree on a joint candidate or risk losing the position of second vice-chair.

The Tallinn City Council failed to elect a second deputy chair on April 20, after EKRE decided to nominate their own candidate, Mart Kallas, in addition to Reform candidate Sander Andla.

As the main opposition faction, the Reform Party had anticipated that their candidate would also be the joint opposition candidate. After the March elections and the formation of a new coalition, Kallas justified the EKRE's actions by citing the change in the political climate.

"There will be no more agreements, traditions or good practice. Who should we agree with? What is the Reform Party? Who have brought with them slander, labeling, invalidation and deception from Toompea? EKRE has never promised to support Sander Andla in any position," he said in April.

Last Thursday, a second attempt to elect a second vice-chair was made, but again without success. This time, the Reform Party nominated Ivi Eenmaa, while EKRE nominated Mart Kallas.

It is not just the opposition squabbling that has taken place. The biggest faction in the council, the Centre Party, which has 39 of the 79 seats, basically abstained and a second vice-chair virtually cannot be elected without their backing.

The chair of the Centre Party's group, Kalle Klandorf, told ERR that the opposition has to select a joint candidate. "We hope that the opposition can still put forward a single candidate. Why are we being forced to choose between two opposing candidates?"

There will be another attempt next Thursday, but the conflict between EKRE and the Reform Party makes it impossible to decide on a joint candidate.

"I do not see [it happening because of] what is going on in the country. There is absolutely no chance," Kallas said.

Sander Andla, vice-chair of the Reform Party faction, told ERR on Monday that they still struggle to understand EKRE's plan, as Kallas received only six ballots in the second attempt, indicating that all of the votes came from the EKRE faction. "The situation remains unchanged; EKRE is unwilling to work with the other three opposition parties, while Isamaa and Eesti 200 support our candidate," Andla said.

The next Tallinn City Council meeting will take place on June 1.

The chair of the Tallinn city council is Jevgeni Osinovski (SDE) and the first vice-chair is Marek Jürgenson (Center).

The Center Party and the Social Democrats make up the power coalition in the Tallinn City Council, with the Reform Party, EKRE, Eesti 200 and Isamaa forming the opposition.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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