Much like they did four years ago, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) are campaigning on an anti-corruption agenda. Similar to that of the Reform Party, their declared aim in this election is to get rid of the Center Party as the defining political force in Tallinn.
Scroll down for the party's Tartu platform.
The Pro Patria and Res Publica Union are a conservative party that developed out of two parties that contributed a lot to shaping present-day Estonia. Among other things they introduced Estonia’s flat-rate income tax system and were a driving force in the conception and implementation of Estonia’s e-government and digital identity systems.
Internal quarrels as well as what has been described as a lasting ideological crisis have decimated the party’s support. Their most conservative supporters have reorientated themselves and now support EKRE, their more business-progressive supporters have moved on to the Reform Party.
IRL have lost a lot of their appeal to independents as well, with the Free Party emerging as a pool of culturally and intellectually active former IRL members as well as like-minded independents.
In Tallinn, the party has a mercifully short platform covering seven main points:
- Replace Edgar Savisaar’s city government and implement a plan to stop corruption and waste
- Reinstate a professional and corruption-free city management. Professional management and honest leadership will ensure that more new businesses, investment, and jobs come to Tallinn
- New homes in a dynamic urban environment, directing city planners to make the city family-friendly and safe. The seaside needs to become the main pillar of the new city space
- Good and secure transportation: direct specialists to organize the road and transportation networks so that people can get to work, schools, and their homes within a reasonable amount of time
- Estonian language to unite communities: the city needs to make sure that all children can go to an Estonian-language pre-school or kindergarten close to their home or to the parents’ workplace, and that the children can master Estonian by the time they finish primary school. Creating a Tallinn Estonian Language House in cooperation with the state
- Cooperation across the Gulf of Finland with Helsinki: work with the state, universities, entrepreneurs, and the city of Helsinki to develop the Tallinn-Helsinki area into a hotspot of science, technology, culture, and business in the Baltic Sea region
- Create an environmentally friendly city, ensuring that Tallinn has clean air, water, and enough green spaces
IRL’s candidate for mayor of Tallinn is Raivo Aeg.
IRL's Tartu platform
IRL’s platform for Tartu isn’t available in English at this point. It covers the following:
- Kindergartens and schools—including making teachers’ salaries more competitive and offer training to them, lowering kindergarten fees, extending the curriculum of the city’s secondary schools to include economics and entrepreneurship, including university instructors in the city’s education system, encouraging students to go to vocational schools, continue the funding of private schools
- Transport—reducing the time people spend on their daily commute by extending the capacity of junctions and main roads, synchronizing the city’s traffic lights, reducing the number of paid parking lots in the city to make room for traffic, building parking garages instead. Extending the trains between Tartu and Tallinn so they can move more passengers, introducing the aim of a 90-minute trip from one city to the other. Continuing the development of sidewalks and cycle paths, continuing the development of smart public transport to make it faster and more efficient. Introducing school buses and express buses for school children and students
- Security—increasing the area covered by surveillance cameras, improving the city’s street lighting, more patrols, more drug checks, against the legalization of drugs; increasing cooperation with the Rescue Board, supporting volunteer fire departments; clean streets, dog-walking areas, protecting existing parks, developing the riverside as a leisure area
The Tartu section of IRL is also against the construction of a new pulp mill along the River Emajõgi or anywhere close to the city.
The party also states in their program that Tartu is responsible for the economic development of all of South Estonia. The size of the city is increasing; as part of the implementation of the Administrative Reform Act, the Tähtvere municipality is added to the city’s territory.
IRL pledges to pay as much attention to Tähtvere as it will to the city within its previous administrative boundaries.
As a university town, Tartu does not draw on its specific resources enough, the party writes. IRL want to include university specialists in solving the city’s problems, and the city to pay for ten four-year scholarships to research issues the city has specific interest in. Founding a scientists’ council for the city is also part of the platform.
- Creative Tartu—an annual art and design festival for the city, “Tartu design for Tartu products”
- Sports and health—keeping cycle and exercise tracks maintained and safe, add sports equipment for adults to playgrounds, building new cycle tracks and and turning Tartu into a bicycle-friendly city, supporting sports events in the city as well as athletes representing the city and the city’s sports clubs, systematic health checks and advisory services for the city’s residents
- Friendly and considerate Tartu—taking all age groups into account in planning and running the city, creating the best conditions for activities for pensioners, supporting the city’s clubs for the elderly, taking disabled people into account, guaranteeing access to personal support according to individual needs, acknowledging the work of volunteers with elderly and disabled people, increasing financial support of parents taking care of disabled children, increasing the support of residents in covering their health care expenses, supporting the youth council of the city
- Entrepreneurial Tartu—guaranteeing the fastest possible processing of companies’ requests, making planning processes fast and transparent, reduce bureaucracy, making logistics in the city more effective, advertising Tartu as a place for international conferences and events, establishing a train connection to Riga, continuing advertising campaigns for more tourism in Tartu and South Estonia, supporting the Tartu science park and creative center, supporting jobs for students during the summer by covering half of businesses’ expenses on social tax.
Editor: Dario Cavegn