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Tallinn's opposition believes Center can be removed from power

SDE's Jevgeni Ossinovski (background) with Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) visible in the foreground.
SDE's Jevgeni Ossinovski (background) with Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) visible in the foreground. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Opposition parties on Tallinn City Council believe it is possible to remove the Center party from power. But the change of power is in the hands of the Social Democratic Party (SDE), which is currently in coalition with Center.

Tallinn is governed by a Center-SDE coalition, but the Center faction has shrunk after several MPs joined SDE, changing the balance of power in both the capital city and Riigikogu.

Opposition parties – Reform, Isamaa, Eesti 200, and EKRE – believe now is the right time to try and challenge for control of Tallinn council.

However, SDE would need to withdraw from the ruling coalition to form a new alliance with the opposition.

"The balance of power in Tallinn needs to change, and it is real and possible, and the social democrats hold the ball or the key to this," Pärtel-Peeter Pere, chairman of the Reform Party faction, told Tuesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera"

Pärtel-Peeter Pere. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Some SDE members also believe the coalition needs to be replaced.

"If the council wanted to, it would take 48 hours, or at most 72 hours, to form a city government in Tallinn that did not include the Centre Party," said Raimond Kaljulaid (SDE).

But Tallinn's SDE faction Chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski does not agree. He said the coalition works and the party wants to continue in an alliance with Center.

"There are people in our ranks who would prefer a different power structure in Tallinn. But politics is a rational field of action, and like or dislike categories are not the basis for our decisions," he said.

Karl-Sander Kase (Center). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Isamaa faction leader Karl-Sander Kase said: "I think they are pragmatic. Jevgeni Ossinovski is a politician with a long track record. If the socialists were to say today that yes, we want a new coalition, they would not have the negotiating position to start a new coalition."

Mayor of Tallinn and the Chairman of the Center Party Mihhail Kõlvart said the opposition parties have long wanted to overthrow the coalition.

"This has always been talked about, but it also depends on whether the current coalition stays or not. Today, I see no sign that it shouldn't stay," he told AK.

Looking at the size of the council factions, SDE, Reform, Isamaa, Eesti 200, and EKRE could form a new coalition.

Mihhail Kõlvart. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Pere said Reform could also negotiate with EKRE, while SDE's Ossinovski rules out the cooperation with EKRE.

To have a coalition without Center and EKRE, three or four more people would need to leave the Center Party faction.

Pere and Kase said more people may leave the Center Party faction soon, but did not name specific names.

Kõlvart said: "No one has announced it and, as far as I know, there are no such plans."

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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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