Narva City Council decided to vote no confidence in Mayor Katri Raik (SDE) at an extraordinary session on Saturday.
In a nominal vote, 19 of the 31 council members supported the motion of no confidence; four members were not present.
The extraordinary session started at 10 a.m., half an hour before, several hundreds (estimate of ERR Narva correspondent Sergei Stepanov) of Raik supporters gathered in front of the Town Hall.
The statement of no confidence in Mayor Katri Raik was read out by Aleksei Jevgrafov (Center), the chair of the newly formed Narva group, whose 18 members started the vote of no confidence in the mayor last Monday. Raik then gave a speech, which was met with enthusiastic applause.
The mayor's dismissal was supported by 18 members of the Narva faction and non-faction member Igor Andreev. Members from the Respekt faction were against it.
Prior to the vote of no confidence, Raik's supporters, including Respekt faction chair Jana Kondrashova and vice chair Vladimir Žavoronkov, expressed their support. Then, more Raik supporters took the floor.
Katri Raik has served as the Mayor of Narva since December 16, 2021.
Earlier Raik was the mayor of Narva from December 2020 to August 2021, then she was dismissed and Ants Liimets took over as mayor.
Aleksei Jevgrafov (Center), long-standing political opponent of Raik (SDE) in Narva and the leader of the new Narva faction, initiated the motion of no confidence last Monday, citing Raik's failure to establish meaningful cooperation between the city administration and the city council, as well as the mayor's incompetence in several areas.
"Unfortunately, Katri Raik has failed to coordinate effective cooperation between the city's legislative and executive branches. The city administration often provides documents to the city council very late. Moreover, there have been numerous instances in which city council committees have been forced to send back drafts for review, or in which the city administration has recalled them, thereby acknowledging the unsatisfactory nature of its own work. We have reached a situation of total chaos in the functioning of the city administration," the Center Party press service said in a statement sent immediately after the vote.
According to Jevgrafov, the unprofessional behavior of the mayor and her team has delayed the implementation of important for the city projects. "This has increased both the cost of construction and the city's debt, which has increased by 1,7 times in three years. The loan is being repaid with taxpayer funds, so the citizens of Narva are paying for the mayor's oversights," he went on to say.
Jevgrafov pointed out the need to change the working practices and methods in the city administration.
The new mayor will be chosen soon. A member of the current city administration, Jelena Golubeva, was designated acting mayor pending the election of a new mayor.
In a speech before the vote, Raik listed the positive changes in the city, but also acknowledged that she has faced several betrayals in her work. However, she said that it has made her a stronger person and politician. She also expressed hope that following the change in leadership, Narva would not turn its back on the rest of Estonia.
A motion of no confidence in Mayor Katri Raik (SDE) was initiated at a Narva City Council meeting last Monday. The petition was signed by 18 members of the newly formed Narva faction, which includes members of the Center Party faction and the former Narva Heaks faction, which is also a faction within Center.
There are 31 deputies in the Narva City Council. Of these, 18 are members of the new Narva faction, while the Respect faction has nine members. Two deputies, Igor Andreev and Anton Nikolaev, are not in factions. Two more deputies—Viktor Shemarin and Marina Shurupova—have remained in Narva Heaks, but at the last City Council meeting there was no clear answer as to whether a two-person faction can exist.
Editor: Mait Ots, Sergei Mihhailov, Kristina Kersa