In one of his first appearances since last month's European Parliament elections, party leader and Mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar sought to dispel views that the Center Party was morphing into an exclusively Russian party, saying that he for one had drawn Estonian votes.
"If you look at the results by region, you'll see that Savisaar did not win Russian votes there. Yana Toom [who was elected MEP] got the Russian votes, for which congratulations are in order.
"But if you look at the results," Savisaar continued, listing 10 of 15 Estonian counties, "where did Edgar Savisaar get the most votes? He got the most votes in Valga County, Põlva County, Võru County, Jõgeva County, Hiiu County, Viljandi County, Rapla County, Lääne County, Lääne-Viru County and Tartu County, everywhere that Estonian voters are heavily in the majority.
"It's never been characteristic of us to distinguish on or calculate along ethnic lines. To say that the Ukraine crisis somehow scared Estonian votes away from us - then Savisaar should have been not only dead last but tarred and feathered. And of course, IRL should have won nationwide, as they tried to build their campaign on the whole tragic Ukraine events from the first days on."
Savisaar caused consternation for many earlier in the spring when he appeared to take a neutral stance on events in Ukraine, while a party backbencher voted against a resolution condemning Russia's grab of Crimea.