Though victorious, Centrists find themselves isolated

  • 2005-10-19
  • By The Baltic Times
TALLINN 's Having won 32 out of the Tallinn City Council's 63 seats, the Center Party is finding overwhelming victory a harsh reality, as possible coalition partners shy away from the negotiating table.

On Tuesday both the People's Union and the Social Democratic Party, both left-of-center parties and the closest ideologically to the Centrists, refused to sit down to talks on forming a coalition in the Tallinn city government.

The Reform Party, which is in coalition with the Center Party in the national government, has stated that it too would be reluctant to form a governing coalition in Tallinn with the Edgar Savisaar-led Centrists since the latter would dominate the alliance.

"If a single force has over 50 percent of the deputies' seats, this isn't very advisable," Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, a Reformist, said on Monday. "We've made this step once and saw that it didn't work," he said.

The Social Democrats are irked by the curd-advertisement scandal that allegedly involved the Centrists and want the latter to come clean before starting negotiations.

"The Center Party cheated at the elections, and we'd like them to come clean about it," SDP secretary-general Rein Org told the Baltic News Service.

The Center Party gathered 41 percent of the vote in the capital and some 25.3 percent nationwide. It fared well among both Estonians and minorities, with one poll indicating that up to two-thirds of ethnic Russians in Tallinn gave their vote to the Centrists.

Savisaar, who is currently the economy minister, said prior to the poll that he wanted to return to the Tallinn mayor's office, to complete unfinished tasks, though after the victory he suggested that he would first need to consult with Prime Minister Ansip.

Given council members' notorious proclivity to change allegiances, it is possible that the Center Party will able to consolidate its position in the Tallinn city government in the next few days, which may nullify the necessity of finding a coalition partner.

The Centrists also did well in Narva, while the liberal Reformists won in Tartu, with the Centrists came in third after the right-wing Pro Patria Union.