Social Protection Minister Margus Tsahkna is an early favorite to chair IRL, once Urmas Reinsalu steps back in summer, Eesti Päevaleht reported.
The daily reported that IRL had five candidates in Marko Mihkelson, Marko Pomerants, Helir-Valdor Seeder, Kaia Iva and Tsahkna, but now the latter has emerged as the front-runner. The only problem is that Tsahkna is yet to accept the nomination.
“It is clear IRL needs deep change and the question is not only about who will become the head, but also about the party's direction,” Tsahkna said, adding that he will decide whether to run or not by May 22. The party congress which will elect the next chairman will take place on June 6.
The daily said a large section of the party is rooting for him and many prominent and less prominent, newer and older members, have been talking to him - even a few politicians from rival parties.
The other candidates are all seen to lack in certain requirements, with Iva failing to get elected to Parliament, Mihkelson seen as an expert on foreign policy, but not on other topics, and Pomerants and Seeder written off as too old and unappealing to the young, the daily said.
Reinsalu said he will resign after the national election results in early March, with IRL losing nine seats and collecting just 13.7 percent of the vote, nearly 7 percentage points less than four years earlier.
Editor: J.M. Laats