The changes the new government was planning to Estonia's language and citizenship policy would overshadow the October municipal elections, taking attention away from local issues, the chairman of the opposition Reform Party, Hanno Pevkur, said on Friday.
"People all over Estonia want to know whether potholes will get repaired, buses depart at times suitable to them, whether there will be a place for their child in the kindergarten, and whether the municipal administration is honest. At present we can say that ambiguous statements by the coalition of Center Party, IRL, and Social Democrats on the subject of Estonia's language and citizenship policy will set the tone also at the local elections," Pevkur said in a speech given at a meeting of the extended board of the Reform Party on Friday.
"In Tallinn, for instance, it's several times more important for the city authorities to become more transparent, open and democratic, instead of the corrupt single-party government of the Center Party continuing on. Rather than transform the capital of Estonia into an European-style living environment, the Center Party directs its energy nationwide as well as in Tallinn toward non-citizens. This makes a substantive debate on the development of Tallinn effectively impossible," Pevkur said.
The Reform Party’s secretary general, Tõnis Kõiv, presented an overview of preparations for the fall local elections. At present, the Reform Party had its own lists of candidates ready in almost 80 percent of Estonia’s municipalities, Kõiv said.
The extended board approved Pevkur’s proposals to set up work groups for changing the party's statutes and program.
"When I ran for the post of chairman of the party, I made the proposal that the governing board of the party should be more broadly based. Also, the internal functioning of the party needs to be changed as a result of the administrative reform to make sure, among other things, that the representation of party members from regions is not reduced on the extended board,” Pevkur said.
He added that the current program of the Reform Party dated back to 2005 and needed to be updated.
Editor: Dario Cavegn