Tallinn opposition mulls no-confidence vote in mayor over traffic gridlock

Traffic in Tallinn on September 4.
Traffic in Tallinn on September 4. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Opposition deputies from Tallinn City Council are weighing up putting forwards a motion of no-confidence in Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center), over ongoing traffic disruption in Tallinn.

Center forms up Tallinn City Government together with the Social Democrats (SDE).

The opposition consists of the Reform Party, Isamaa, Eesti 200 and the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), with all bar the last of these so far talking about the potential no-confidence vote.

Karl Sander Kase, chair of the Isamaa party group, told ERR the city government has proven unable to fulfill its tasks.

He said: "Autumn has started, but there is no end to the traffic chaos in Tallinn."

"The situation is worsened by the fact that those members of the city government responsible for the chaos do not want to appear before the council to give answer questions. Major harm has been caused to firms, and to the people of Tallinn, hence why we are discussing a motion of no confidence in the mayor," Kase went on.

Meanwhile Pärtel-Peeter Pere, Reform's chair on the city council, was also critical, and found that the current city government itself represents the biggest obstacle to Tallinn's development.

Pere said: "The traffic chaos that has turned the everyday life of the townspeople upside down is also the result of bad management choices. For years, the city's leaders, led by the mayor, have been whistling at the recommendations of experts on how to make urban mobility better and more modern."

Joel Jesse, Eesti 200 chair, meanwhile said that Tallinn's city leaders have not been able to manage the planning and organization of infrastructure and public transport, in addition to the management of construction processes.

Jesse said: "As you can both see and hear, the beginning of the school year is likely be particularly difficult in Tallinn's traffic. In addition, trams will not reach Tallinn Airport for the next two years, the new tram route will bypass the D-terminal, which is several hundred meters away, the Tondi intersection will be closed until the end of 2024, and the reorganization of public transport which took place in the summer was done in haste, without involving the communities."

While one major Tallinn street project became open to the public on Friday, this leaves several others still ongoing; in addition to the items mentioned above are the refurbishments to the North-South Jõe/Pronksi thoroughfare, among other work-in-progress.

Much of the public facing explanations over the large-scale roadworks in the capital, which started last autumn and picked up in pace from spring this year, have been provided by one of the deputy mayors, Vladimir Svet (Center).


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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