From press conference to press conference: head of the 35-strong election coalition Active Tallinn Jüri Mõis and accused at trial Edgar Savisaar, as the leader of an election coalition of his own name, plan to keep the public in suspense for as long as possible.
The parties met for over three hours yesterday and plan to meet again tomorrow. “Provided the sides come to an agreement, we hope to talk about the new common election list in more detail early next week,” Mõis told journalists after the meeting.
The name of the new election coalition was not decided yesterday, while an insider told Postimees chances are the title will be lengthy as both sides need to be represented, with Savisaar’s name coming first. The sides are in no hurry to name their mayoral candidate. “First, I am the current mayor of Tallinn,” Savisaar said. “We will talk about what comes after mid-October when that time comes.”
Political circles had been saying for weeks that a marriage between the two coalitions was a matter of time.
It was initially speculated the merger would be made public immediately before the election; yesterday’s quick decision, however, reflects earlier utterances according to which names of candidates cannot be made public in fear they would come under pressure. What this probably means is that the coalitions lacked people and had found it impossible to come up with 80 candidates they had promised to deliver.
It is another matter how many of their people Mõis and Sõõrumaa will be able to keep after merging with Savisaar. The first one to leave was Active Tallinn’s executive manager Mart Luik.
Luik said that agreements with Savisaar constitute a red line for him back when his cooperation with Mõis and Sõõrumaa started.
It is probable that the decision will not end Luik’s political career.
The Center Party diagnosed the convergence of the two election coalitions quite accurately: lack of candidates and a falling rating. Secretary General Mihhail Korb said the aim of the coalitions is to take away Center’s votes.
“As concerns all other aspects, this stew of businessmen and Savisaar’s Election Coalition candidates will remain a mystery to voters of both,” he ventured.
Korb said that Mõis is obviously going after Savisaar’s “stupid Lasnamäe votes” as the former Pro Patria Union member himself put it, but added that things are more complicated in the case of the other party.
“The benefit to voters of Savisaar and Olga Ivanova’s marriage to businessmen whose views are far from centrist remains unclear. It seems that both sides are prepared to thoroughly change their rhetoric and face in the name of seats in the council and to stop what the Center Party has been doing.”
Social democrats’ mayoral candidate Rainer Vakra also said Mõis and Sõõrumaa realized their coalition was running the risk of falling short of the election threshold. “Ivanova and Edgar Savisaar realized their election coalition is short on campaign funding. But they have votes. That is how the two met and started discussing a merger,” Vakra found.
Mayoral candidate for the Reform Party Kristen Michal said that the alliance makes perfect sense. “Coalition sporting the same ideas, worldview, and interests converge,” Michal said. “The search for common elements between Savisaar, Mõis, and Sõõrumaa was expected. I believe they are entirely fitting and mutually complementary partners.” Michal added that the Mõis-Sõõrumaa side has greater financial-organizational capacity while Savisaar has the votes. “I presume ideas will come from Savisaar and the execution from Sõõrumaa and Mõis.”
Michal also phrased his opinion of the focal point of this fall’s elections: “When he came back, Savisaar urged people to recall the reason Center is in power. We are in power because of the support of non-citizens,” Michal echoed Savisaar’s words. “The struggle will now erupt in the epicenter of pleasing Russian-speaking stateless persons.”