IRL wants bloc against Center in Tallinn

Helen Mihelson
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Photo: Ardi Truija

One of the leaders of the Pro Patria Res Publica Union (IRL) Urmas Reinsalu has invited three parties to form a bloc against the Center Party that has remained in control of the capital for years.

In his statement, Reinsalu, who serves as the justice minister in Center’s government, recalled the 1999 parliamentary election on the eve of which the Reform Party, Pro Patria Union, and the Moderates formed a common opposition. The idea of the alliance was to declare that the Coalition Party needed to be removed from power, and that the trio was willing to do it together.

Reinsalu said that parties are in a similar situation in Tallinn today, only this time power needs to be taken away from the Center Party. The minister believes he knows the solution: IRL, the Reform Party, the Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), and the social democrats should present a united front. Reinsalu invites everyone except Edgar Savisaar’s election coalition to join the alliance.

The politician believes such a coalition would help introduce fundamental change in how Tallinn is managed. He said that parties have voiced support for centrist city government at different times after elections in the past but should band together and stick to their guns this time.

Reinsalu’s vocal reluctance to centrist city authority is understandable in light of the fact the ruling party will very probably still be the one wearing the metaphorical pants in Tallinn after the October elections.

A poll ordered by Postimees and BNS and carried out by Kantar Emor among 400 citizens of Tallinn gave Center Party 39.5 percent of the vote in September. While this would keep the party from ruling alone in the capital, it also means no coalition could run Tallinn without Center.

The Reform Party’s mayoral candidate for Tallinn Kristen Michal approved of Reinsalu’s idea. “I hope that change is more important than any kind of pragmatic offers from the Center Party also for the social democrats, EKRE, and why not representatives of the green worldview. True change can only happen in broad cooperation in Tallinn,” he said.

If Michal has said he does not rule out working with EKRE on the local level, the social democrats said they will not sit down with the national conservatives. “The Reform Party under Kristen Michal might want to run Tallinn together with EKRE, but the social democrats will definitely not be participating in that kind of a project,” the social democrats’ mayoral candidate Rainer Vakra told ERR.

Mayoral candidate for EKRE Martin Helme said that Reinsalu’s idea grows out of concern for IRL’s poor rating, but added that the proposal has merit.

“It is possible to change city administration provided the others are prepared for this kind of cooperation. We will not be the ones to trip this initiative,” Helme said. The politician would not rule out cooperation with SDE if the goal would be to rob Center of power in the capital.

Helme believes Vakra’s reluctance could be motivated by the party’s desire to keep the door open to a potential coalition with the Center Party in Tallinn.