The latest scandal surrounding Centre Party members on Narva's city council has led to 58 members leaving the party's local branch. Spokesman Andre Hanimägi told the Baltic News Service that they include 24 employees of Narva Vesi, the local water company, whose CEO is one of the suspects in the ongoing investigation.
Centre's leadership declared on August 10 that they expect any member of the party embroiled in this latest scandal to withdraw from the city council for the time of the investigation.
Hanimägi said that since the 58 former members' reason for leaving wasn't known, it can hardly be said that the leadership's demand was the cause for this exodus from the party's Narva branch, though he did say that the 58 include 24 employees of Narva Vesi, a local utility company whose CEO, Aleksei Voronov, is among those officials currently being investigated.
The Narva branch of the Centre Party has approximately 500 members, and the party has a long history of winning elections in Narva.
"Of course that so many people are leaving is regrettable, but even the most difficult moments offer an opportunity for positive change—new people will join the party, and hopefully many of those who have left will do it again as well. Together, and as members of a strong organisation, residents of Narva can better stand for the interests of their city and Ida-Viru County," Hanimägi said.
Eight Centre Party members who also were on the council are suspects in a criminal investigation. Several members of the council did not remove themselves from voting connected to transferring assets of the city for free to companies connected to them, or the financing of such companies.
The Centre Party group in the council collapsed when these eight members as well as five other Centre council members left the party, but not the city council. On 16 August, they set up a new group, Meie Kodu Narva (Our Home Narva). The Narva city council has 31 seats.
Editor: Dario Cavegn