A new coalition agreement in the eastern border town of Narva is set to be signed this week and will see Katri Raik remaining as mayor, while the Center Party will be in opposition. The coalition will involve two electoral alliances, and looks set to be fairly fragile from the outset.
Raik told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" that: "We'll get by; we will see how we get on. There is no indication of significant disagreements on many issues," listing the issue of renaming streets currently named after historical figures whom Soviet authorities dubbed "heroes".
"Let's see how much patience we have during our cooperation," the mayor added.
Vice-chair of the Respekt electoral alliance, Denis Larchenko, told AK that: We are in favor of Katri Raik remaining as mayor. We do have a few differences of opinion, but nevertheless we think and believe that she is highly necessary for us now."
However, Aleksei Jevgrafov, whose Narva Heaks electoral alliance will be Respekt's partner, said: "We have to talk about the fact that there must be a sense of trust between the council and the city government, and cooperation must take place in a different way."
Former Center MP Jevgrafov heads up Narva Heaks, but had long been critical of Raik while in opposition, but is now having to find ways to get along with Respekt, made up of deputies elected from the electoral list Raik ran in the October 2021 local government elections.
The new development also means Center is in opposition in a town where it was once predominant, though Jevgrafov is calling for its deputies to join him.
"There are now three members of the Center Party in my group and exactly the same number in Center's own group [in opposition]. In any case, we have to work to make the Center Party strong," Jevgrafov said, hinting at what his longer term plan might be.
The next Narva City Council session is due for Thursday, with the street naming issue item one on the agenda.
An indication of how fragile the nascent coalition is is evidenced by the fact that deputies from the two groups are free to vote as they please on the matter.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael
Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Jüri Nikolaev