Simson: Savisaar refuses to allow discussion of removal of Toobal and Laasi from Center Party ({{commentsTotal}})

Priit Toobal yet the Secretary General of the Center Party in November 2015.
Priit Toobal yet the Secretary General of the Center Party in November 2015. Source: (Hanna Samoson/ERR)

Parliamentary Group Chairman Kadri Simson confirmed that the removal of convicted criminals Priit Toobal and Lauri Laasi from the ranks of the Center Party is still an item on the agenda, however it has yet to be officially registered as party chairman Edgar Savisaar refuses to allow it.

Speaking on Vikerraadio’s broadcast “Reporteritund,” Simson confirmed that Toobal giving up his position as the party’s secretary general was to be expected, however she did not think that, with that, the matter of removing the criminally convicted Toobal and Laasi from the party would remain unaddressed.

“We have statutes in force that foresee [their removal] nearly as automatically as when some good member of ours departs from this world,” explained Simson. “This just needs to be registered, and that is currently being held up by the fact that the party’s chairman has refused to allow this particular item to be added to the agenda. Once this item is on the agenda, then there will be no discretionary power involved here; it will just be [a matter of] confirming the fact.”

The parliamentary group chairman also expressed regret that Oudekki Loone, who was confirmed with a 10-4 vote in Center Party’s Board of Directors, was chosen to replace Toobal as the party’s new secretary general on Tuesday.

“The party’s chairman unfortunately did not look for a candidate for secretary general who would have been supported by a consensus of the Board of Directors,” Simson commented.

Priit Toobal, who was convicted in 2014 of both instigating unauthorized surveillance and having falsified documents in his role as a public official and resigned from the Riigikogu of his own accord just days before the Estonian Supreme Court confirmed his guilty verdict in November 2015, announced in a letter to his fellow Center Party members last Monday that he was stepping down as the party’s secretary general and leaving politics.

This decision came after Toobal’s election to the Estonian Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK) in late March was met with a harsh backlash due to his criminal background.

Toobal was replaced as the party's representative in the ERJK by his previous alternate Tõnis Mölder.

Lauri Laasi was convicted in the same 2014 case of instigating unauthorized surveillance. Maintaining his innocence, however, Laasi refused to resign from the Riigikogu even as the Supreme Court confirmed his guilty verdict, and was immediately expelled from the position as a result. Laasi was replaced as MP by Oudekki Loone.

Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik

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