Center Party Vice-Chair Jaan Toots has been tipped as a potential new mayor of the eastern Estonian city of Narva, regional daily Põhjarannik writes.
The news follows the exit from office of Katri Raik (SDE) as mayor, after a vote of no-confidence held on Saturday.
Põhjarannik reports (link in Estonian) that on Sunday, the day after Raik left office, Center's new chair, Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart, together with Toots and another Center vice-chair, Lauri Laats.
Despite being from Tartu, Toots has been linked with the position of Narva mayor since last year, though he would not be drawn on the question of whether he would become the next incumbent, when quizzed on the matter by Põhjarannik.
Aleksei Jevgrafov (Center), leader of the Narva political group at the city council, said Monday that the process of having more active meetings with potential mayoral candidates ,is just getting underway, with a view to having a clearer picture by the end of this month.
Jevgrafov specifically named Toots as someone he needs to meet with.
Jevgrafov (Center) is a long-standing political opponent of Raik in the town of around 53,000 inhabitants.
Narva politics is particularly byzantine in its operation but in short the Narva was recently formed from the merger of two formerly separate factions, which had the effect of consolidating the Center vote at the council chambers.
The motion of no-confidence in Raik found 19 votes in favor at the 31-seat council and thus passed.
That this action took place shortly after Mihhail Kõlvart became Center leader is likely not a coincidence.
Narva had traditionally been a stronghold for the Center Party, but this situation had deteriorated in recent years. On the other hand the emergence of new political groupings specific to Narva is a fairly common occurrence.
The no-confidence motion had stated that Katri Raik failed to establish a meaningful cooperation between the city administration and the city council, and charged her with incompetence in other areas also.
This was Raik's second term as mayor of Narva, a term which started in 2021 after the local elections of October that year. Previously she had been mayor in 2020. Raik was also interior minister from November 2018 to April 2019.
The city's council chair and deputy chair had resigned the week before last, days after the city administration began changing the names of five streets in the town which had referenced rank-and-file Soviet soldiers involved in the 1944 Battle of Narva.
The council had voted against the name change, which went ahead in any case; the state is footing the bill for replacing the street signs and making the other required changes.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mirjam Mäekivi