Herkel continues as Free Party chairman ({{commentsTotal}})


On Saturday Andres Herkel was unanimously reelected to head the Free Party, which broke into Parliament winning eight seats at the March 1 national election.

Herkel collected 164 votes out of 172, with eight ballot disqualified at a party congress on Saturday.

Speaking at the congress, Herkel said they party is at a decisive development stage and must begin to prepare for the 2017 local elections.

He also said it is important to clarify the party's political leanings and build a leadership structure.

The party voted to set up a council which will comprise of regional heads, party officials, Parliament faction members, board members, MEPs and government members, and which will be tasked with debating topics important in the development of Estonia.

The party also passed a declaration saying the new government is not geared towards making great change in national development and instead holds the nation back. The statement said the coalition parties have shunned political reform and the proposed tax reform ideas are only aimed at filling the state's coffers to pay for election promises.

“The Free Party's aim is not to become stale, we arrived after much hardship and want to continue the same way in the future,” the party said.

The party was founded only in January 2014 and made a successful run at the 2015 national elections on a platform of change and decreasing state funding of political parties. The party was invited to coalition talks but was soon ejected with other parties saying its demands were unrealistic.

Most Parliament parties are holding internal leadership elections in May or June, with the Reform Party already deciding to stick with Taavi Rõivas and the Social Democrats opting to continue with Jevgeni Ossinovski. IRL will vote in a new leader on June 6 after current chairman Urmas Reinsalu said he will not continue after dismal election results.

Editor: J.M. Laats

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