Head of the ruling Reform Party faction in Parliament, Kristen Michal, said the news that Juhan Parts is poised to lead IRL at the upcoming elections means the party is moving back to the political platform of Res Publica, which merged with the Pro Patria Union in 2006 to create IRL.
Michal told Postimees that in 2006 Pro Patria was the stronger partner of the union, but now voters see the party as less Pro Patria and more Res Publica.
Party leader Urmas Reinsalu embodies both sides, but Parts came from the Pro Patria side, having led the party for most of its short existence.
Res Publica was founded in 2001, winning 28 seats in parliamentary elections two years later with Parts taking the prime minister's seat. The Pro Patria Union is far older, with an official founding date at the end of 1995. It was formed by Pro Patria, the party of the first post-re-independence prime minister Mart Laar, and the National Independence Party, the first independent political party to be created in the USSR, among several others.