Center Party to change own rules to shield convicted members from automatic expulsion ({{commentsTotal}})

The Center Party will change its statutes removing a clause which automatically ejects party members who receive a guilty criminal verdict in a court. A number of high-level party members are under investigation or already in court.

Party deputy chairman Kadri Simson told Eesti Päevaleht that after the change enters force, the party's board will decide the expulsion on a case-by-case scenario.

MPs Priit Toobal and Lauri Laasi are currently waiting for a final verdict on a case on instigating unauthorized surveillance, while Center Party chairman Edgar Savisaar is a suspect in a bribery case.

With Toobal and Laasi a verdict is expected later this month, and since the first two levels of the Estonian court system found the men guilty, the Supreme Court decision will be final.

The party has ejected a number of members due to the clause in recent years, including former minister Ester Tuiksoo, former MP Urbo Vaarmann, and Tallinn city officials Elmar Sepp and Ivo Parbus.

Of the six parties in the Parliament, only EKRE expels members automatically after a guilty verdict in a criminal case.

Editor: J.M. Laats