IRL's election campaign suffered a severe setback today, with Eerik-Niiles Kross, the party's leader in the last round of municipal elections, leaving the faction for the Reform Party.
Kross told Delfi the Reform Party has prioritized national defense and security policies, and the Reform Party has gone through a generational shift, which has made it more open, happy and brave.
Yoko Alender, who also made the same switch today, pointed to the Cohabitation Act, which no IRL MP voted for on October 9.
“My ideas have not changed but this year has taught me that the Reform Party is a more suitable place for my ideas such as building a open traditional state,” Alender said.
Both Alender and Kross said in media during the Cohabitation Act debates that they are for the bill and will try to sway the party to back it.
Urmas Reinsalu, IRL's chairman, issued a statement, saying: "Surprises do come up. This morning, Eerik-Niiles Kross came to me and let me know he had reached an agreement with Reform and would join." He said he wished him well, "advancing the conservative cause in the ranks of the liberals" and recalled the 2013 election campaign fondly.
Kross was IRL's top candidate at the 2013 local elections, winning 6,897 votes, and making heads turn with his visibility in the campaign, including an incident where a drone buzzed a TV appearance by a rival politician. Kross joined the party in 2011; Alender joined IRL in 2013.