Tallinn Deputy Mayor Betina Beškina has joined the Centre Party. Beškina had previously sat as an independent.
"The process of admission to the party takes time; the decision is made by the board. Since my application was submitted during the holidays, it was not immediately considered," Beškina told ETV+, ERR's Russian-language TV channel.
She officially joined on Sept. 9, according to the commercial register.
As to her motivations for joining the party, Beškina said that she felt the party protected the most vulnerable sections of society, as evidenced by the free public transport which has been running in Tallinn for some years, or the party's commitment for increased the tax threshold for lower earners.
Beškina said that she was focused mainly on the job at present, which for her covers the social sphere, though did not rule out running in the 2021 municipal elections.
Beškina also noted that while Centre's entry into coalition with the right-wing Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) had been a shock for her, the current coaltion's actions sometimes speak louder than words. She cited Tuesday's bill overturned at the Riigikogu, where the Reform Party had wanted to make education Estonian-only, saying that the exclusion of Russian in education was unacceptable.
She also pointed towards more flexible conditions for students in obtaining Estonian citizenship, which she said only the current coalition would have introduced.
Beškina, 32, became a deputy mayor in April, joining Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart's (Centre) team. She has worked for several years in city administration and had previously worked as an adviser to Kõlvart, when he was a deputy mayor himself, in charge of the city's media.
She was also Russian-language news editor at ERR from 2007 to 2012.
Editor: Andrew Whyte