New Narva coalition dominated by councilors from Katri Raik's list

Jana Kondrašova (Respekt) and Aleksei Jevgrafov (KF Narva Heaks).
Jana Kondrašova (Respekt) and Aleksei Jevgrafov (KF Narva Heaks). Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

A coalition agreement was signed in Narva Town Hall on Friday, resulting in the appointment of a new chair and deputy chair of the city council. Katri Raik will continue as Mayor of Narva.

The newly-formed coalition holds 18 of the 31 seats on Narva City Council. Both the Narva Heaks faction, which from Friday will be renamed KF Narva Heaks faction, and the Respekt faction have 9 seats each.

Four members of the Narva Heaks faction stood as candidates in the last local elections as part of the Elagu Narva coalition, which was chaired by the current leader of the faction, Alexei Jevgrafov. Three members of KF Narva Heaks were on Katri Raik's own list in the last elections, with one elected as a member of Eesti 200 and another as a member of the Center Party.

The Respekt faction includes eight members of Katri Raik's electoral list and one representative of Eesti 200. Respekt also has the mayor's seat as part of the new coalition agreement, and have confirmed that Katri Raik will continue in the role.

Agreement not difficult to reach

"The coalition agreement is based on the electoral programs of our electoral alliances, where there are quite a lot of points of convergence. So it can't be said that it was difficult to agree on the content of the coalition agreement. Each member of the coalition had the opportunity to participate in the drafting, editing and discussion of the text," Jana Kondrašova, leader of the Respekt group, told ERR's Russian-language portal.

"For our team, what are especially important are the points concerning the construction of the hospital building and the work on upgrading the infrastructure of educational institutions, including the construction of new buildings for the Pähklimäe and Paju schools. Of course, the price of heating, the conditions in municipal housing, the Kreenholm cultural quarter, the Äkkeküla recreation and sports area and other ongoing construction projects, as well as roads and a safe urban environment, sports infrastructure and cooperation with the third sector - all of these are important tasks for us and are reflected in the agreement with our coalition partners, which we want to begin or implement by the 2025 elections," Kondrašova added.

The Kesk faction of the Narva City Council, which has 11 members, most of whom were part of the former coalition faction Narva Tulevik that announced its dissolution at Thursday's council meeting, remain in opposition. Two Narva MPs are not members of any political group.

Marina Šurupova candidate for council chair

Marina Šurupova (KF Narva Heaks) is likely to become the new chair of Narva City Council. Šurupova ran in the 2021 local elections on Katri Raik's list and was elected with 109 votes. At the time of the elections, Šurupova was a member of the Reform Party. She resigned from the party on August 8 last year, after having been a member for just a year and four months. For just over two years (2006-2009) she was a member of the then IRL, which later evolved to become Isamaa.

Vladimir Žavoronkov (Respekt/ Katri Raik's list), who chaired the council from January last year until February 23 this year, is now a candidate for the role of vice-chair.

Natalia Umarova, a member of the KF Narva Heaks faction, will continue as the second deputy member of the Eesti 200.

At Thursday's council meeting, a motion of no confidence was tabled against Tatyana Stolfat, chair of the Narva Council, who is now the leader of the Kesk faction, and Vadim Orlov, who formerly chaired the now-defunct Narva Tulevik faction and is now a member of the Kesk faction. It is hoped that these motions of no confidence will be discussed by the council in its meeting on September 15.  

Center Party members in both coalition and opposition

Council chair Tatjana Stolfat, who is part of the new coalition, is also a member of the Center Party. However, this creates a dilemma for three of her Center Party colleagues, who are members of the opposition KF Narva Heaks faction. Among them is KF Narva Heaks Chair Aleksei Jevgrafov. Voting against party colleagues in this manner contravenes the Center Party's internal regulations.

The first test for the new coalition was the vote on four street names, currently named after members of the Soviet Red Army. At Thursday's meeting, coalition members were able to vote freely on the issue.

The Narva City Council did not oppose the renaming of the street that commemorates the 1944 Battle of Narva from July 26 tänav to July tänav. However, it voted against renaming the streets named after Soviet heroes of the Red Army: Aleksei Yuhhanovi (the proposed new name was Väike-Rakvere), Arsenti Bastrakovi (Masina), Igor Grafovi (Madise), and Mihhail Gorbatši (Seedri). One of the main arguments was that these men did not fight against the Republic of Estonia.

Of the 10 members in favor of keeping the street names unchange, as many as seven stood for election on Katri Raik's list, two were from the Elagu Narva electoral coalition and one was elected to the council as a member of Eesti 200.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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