The opposition on Maardu city council is attempting a no-confidence motion in sitting Mayor Vladimir Arhipov (Centre), Baltic News Service reports.
Opposition leader at the city's council, Nikolai Degtjarenko, said that over recent years, life in Maardu, a town of around 17,000 just east of Tallinn, has deteriorated under Centre's tutelage.
"Prices are rising, people's well-being is declining, medical services are becoming increasingly inaccessible, the condition of the environment is deteriorating and the campaign promises given by centrist politicians are chronically not fulfilled," Degtjarenko said, according to BNS.
"At the same time, Centre treat whatever criticisms are addressed at them as an attack against their comfortable way of life and are preaching a merciless fight against the opposition, instead of fighting drug abuse and alcoholism," he continued.
"Centrists have been in power in Maardu already for four years running, but instead of free public transport, we got paid transport even within the town. Nor do we have a modern medical center, and it is not possible for people to get an appointment with a specialist doctor where they live. The conclusion: Centrism as a political practice and system of management has gone bankrupt and should be replaced with a new political force," Degtjarenko added.
Tallinn city government has a Centre majority and public transport has been free to residents for several years.
Aivar Park, opposition deputy on Maardu council, also drew attention to the problems of working people who, in his words, have been left defenseless before a cruel system of exploitation.
"Unemployment is being masked with part-time work. Maardu is full of work migrants, and instead of raising wages in sectors of the economy... new jobs are being created for workers with low qualifications and wages," Park said.
Nikolai Degtjarenko claimed the common understanding among the participants in the meeting where the no-confidence motion was tabled was that the key to solving problems in the municipality lies in rallying all opposition forces in the town.
The participants in the meeting adopted a petition to council members Degtjarenko and Park, asking them to start collecting signatures to a motion of no-confidence in Mayor Arhipov. A no-confidence motion requires a set number of signatures before it can be put for a vote at the council.
Last summer, Centre faced a rebellion on the council in the border town of Narva, with many deputies breaking away and forming their own grouping. A former Centre MP, Olga Ivanova, also quit the party at the same time.
Maardu is a predominantly Russian-speaking town and is close to Muuga, a large cargo port administered by the state-owned Port of Tallinn, but whose territory lies partly within Maardu municipality.
Editor: Andrew Whyte