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Center Party ready to make concessions to find partner in Tallinn

Acting mayor of Tallinn, Taavi Aas (Center).
Acting mayor of Tallinn, Taavi Aas (Center). Source: (Siim Lõvi /ERR)

After the coalition talks last week, the Center Party now needs to decide who it wants to work with. According to acting mayor Taavi Aas, they are ready to discuss even those topics that were not on the table earlier.

With 40 of 79 mandates on the Tallinn city council, the Center Party is in a tricky situation. Governing the capital alone could prove difficult, as voting discipline isn’t guaranteed—thus a coalition would make sense. At the same time, it isn’t particularly attractive for any another party to come in now, as at the end of the day they aren’t really needed, and have little leverage.

Consultations ended already on Wednesday last week, as there are only two parties that would consider working with Center. The Reform Party and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) have been saying since their campaigns that they wouldn’t work with the Center Party, and the meetings with both the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) and the Social Democrats made it quite clear that an agreement couldn’t be reached without further compromises.

Former Center Party chairman and suspended mayor Edgar Savisaar did make it to the council, but there are several problems attached to the option of working with him. The most important one is the fact that he is still on trial for embezzlement and corruption—should he be found guilty, he would lose his personal mandate and would no longer be on the council. On top of that, his former party colleagues don’t want to work with him because he ran against the party in the local elections.

The decision facing the party, then, is whether they want to trust in their own council members’ discipline and rule the capital alone, or compromise and make concessions to a future coalition partner.

“Ideologically we’re certainly close to the Social Democrats, but at the same time we’ve had a pretty fruitful meeting with EKRE. We’d certainly be able to go on with them as well,” Aas told ERR on Sunday.

Social Democrat Rainer Vakra, who ran against Aas as his party’s candidate for mayor, said that if the Social Democrats joined the Center Party, there would be changes. “First off, all decisions would need to be made based on consensus, which means both partners would have the right of veto. Then second, if we’re entering into coalition negotiations, everything needs to be on the table,” Vakra said.

What mattered was whether or not the Center Party had understood that things in Tallinn really needed to change, Vakra said.

Aas said on Sunday that the Center Party was ready to make concessions also concerning issues that up to this point hadn’t been on the table. “The cooperative credit bank as well as Tallinna TV and the media in general. We’ll of course have to take the opinions of other parties into account here as well,” Aas said.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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