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Businessmen announce independent list for Tallinn local polls in October

Urmas Sõõrumaa.
Urmas Sõõrumaa. Source: (Raigo Pajula/EOK)

Urmas Sõõrumaa and Jüri Mõis are putting together an independent election list for the local polls in autumn called Tegus Tallinn ("Active Tallinn"). To run their campaign, the two have hired former journalist and long-time media executive Mart Luik.

“Personally what made me go along with the idea is the fact that there is currently a historic chance to topple the Center Party as the single power in Tallinn,” Luik told ERR in an interview on Friday.

Sõõrumaa is the president of the Estonian Olympic Committee and has owned a private security firm since the early 1990s. Jüri Mõis was one of the founders of Hansapank (today Swedbank) as well as a former minister (1999) of the interior and mayor of Tallinn (1999-2001).

Luik is currently the CEO of the Eesti Lihatööstus meat packing cooperative. Before that, he ran an event management company. Until 2015 Luik was a journalist and media executive, most recently as CEO of daily Postimees.

According to Luik, there is currently no specific number of mandates on Tallinn’s 79-strong city council the coalition is aiming for. The most important thing was to assemble a worthy group of candidates, which is why they were currently talking to people across Tallinn’s electoral districts.

Of these, the city has eight, which in Luik’s words means that they’ll aim for a long list of up to 80 candidates.

That the list was Sõõrumaa and Mõis’s creation didn’t mean that it would only represent business interests. On the contrary, it would include people from all walks of life. They were talking to people that were “above average politically active” and who wanted to participate to the way the city is run, Luik said.

Should the Center Party lose its local majority and a coalition become necessary to run the city, their list would be happy to cooperate, Luik added.

Different from the other parties, Luik isn’t excluding the possibility of working with the Center Party as well. “We’re taking our starting position and aren’t excluding working with anyone,” Luik said, adding that such thinking was too narrow an approach that didn’t seem genuine either.

The election coalition’s campaign platform is still in the making, but has already made a lot of headway. “We’re not concentrating on digging in the history archives to say who heart each other and how, but we’re looking at what could be done differently and better from here on in,” Luik stressed.

One of the specific issues they were busying themselves with was urban planning, which in Tallinn was happening at roughly the level of the 1950s or 1960s. Another point is the city’s system of schools and kindergartens.

“Nobody should have to wait in endlessly long lines to get a kindergarten placement. Also, Tallinn’s school network needs to go along with the developments of its districts. If there are new ones created, then kindergartens and schools have to move there as well,” Luik said.

The list’s name is translated into Russian as well. Luik announced that they were planning to take care of the paperwork related to putting the list together early next week.

The 2017 local elections are taking place on Oct. 15.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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