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Reinsalu: No going back on profiling Center as Russian voters' party

Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa).
Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Tallinn Mayor and Center Party chair Mihhail Kõlvart's power in the capital is weakening, however there likely won't be any big changes in the government, opposition Isamaa chair Urmas Reinsalu said Friday, commenting on the latest exodus from the Center Party.

According to Reinsalu, profiling of the Mihhail Kõlvart-led Center Party's as the Russian voters' party will continue at an increasing rate following the latest round of resignations – and there's no going back on this trend.

"Kõlvart himself has begun consciously cementing this by starting to build up an image of himself in which he is being bullied somehow for his ethnicity," he said. "Those lines yesterday were indeed aimed at Russian voters specifically."

The actual issue, he added, is with Kõlvart's policy decisions.

According to the Isamaa chair, Kõlvart's position as mayor of Tallinn has been thrown very much off balance, and the Center Party group on Tallinn City Council has continued to dwindle, increasing the likelihood of a shakeup in the leadership of the Estonian capital.

Paradoxically, he continued, it is instead the Reform Party's power vertical that is being reinforced in parliamentary politics, despite public opinion of the current ruling Reform-Eesti 200-SDE coalition being critical. Nonetheless, he considers a bipartite Reform-SDE coalition unlikely, as this route wouldn't be in the former's interests.

"It's even more convenient for the Reform Party to lead both junior partners," Reinsalu said. "Eesti 200 hopelessly slept on the point last year during which it theoretically would have had the power to establish any of its own positions in the government."

He commented that that big of a coalition is unnatural.

"You typically don't build five-wheeled cars, because it's practical insurance for [your partners] that you can't mechanically make a single decision in coalitions without everyone's votes," Reinsalu pointed out.

"Still, the five-wheeled car born today may prove relatively durable, as compared with before, it will now empower the Reform Party to control both partners with the threat of kicking them out of the coalition," he continued.

The Isamaa chair and seasoned former minister nonetheless considers it unlikely that the Social Democrats could offer the Center defecfors positions of some kind in a new coalition, adding that if anyone has indeed offered anything of the sort, they still aren't actually backed by anything.

"In the current political reality, joining the coalition means becoming a defender of [Reform Prime Minister] Kaja Kallas' government policy, including the approval in essence of both preceding and subsequent tax hikes," Reinsalu said. "As well as supporting the prime minister's tenure."

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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