Tallinn ex-mayor, former longtime chairman of the Centre Party and council member Edgar Savisaar on Thursday attended the final Tallinn City Council meeting of the year. City council chairman Mihhail Kõlvart (Centre), meanwhile, wants to reduce the size of the council in general.
Dressed up as Santa Claus, Tallinn City Secretary Toomas Sepp presented Savisaar with Jen Sincero's book "You Are a Badass," which the ex-mayor was made to earn, as is tradition in Estonia, by reciting a poem.
Savisaar's powers as city council member were suspended over the summer, but restored in mid-September.
The Local Government Organisation Act stipulates that if a council member has been absent from municipal council meetings for three months in a row, not counting months during which no meetings occurred, their powers will be suspended.
Kõlvart: Reduce council size
Tallinn City Council chairman Mihhail Kõlvart (Centre), meanwhile, submitted a bill at Thursday's meeting proposing the reduction of the size of the city council from 79 to 63 members.
Ten years ago, when the laws were changed and the minimum size of the council of a municipality with a population exceeding 300,000 was set at 79, the move was justified with the need to increase democracy and give election coalitions and smaller city districts a better shot at representation on the city council, Mr Kõlvart was quoted in a council press release as saying.
In reality, however, in the three local elections to take place since, not a single election coalition has made it onto Tallinn City Council. "In reality, only party groups increased in size," he added.
As the increase in the number of council members cannot be said to have improved the council's efficiency, "The question arises why it is necessary to support a bigger city council at taxpayer expense?"
According to the city council chairman, were the ratio of council member-to-city resident ratio equal that of Helsinki, Tallinn would only need 59 members on its city council. "I see no reason why Tallinn City Council could not comprise 63 members again, as it was from 2002-2009.
Editor: Aili Vahtla