Independents accuse Free Party of trying to take over local lists ({{commentsTotal}})

Free Party chairman Artur Talvik was himself elected an independent. The Free Party has been working towards close cooperation with independent candidates and coalition in the 2017 local elections.
Free Party chairman Artur Talvik was himself elected an independent. The Free Party has been working towards close cooperation with independent candidates and coalition in the 2017 local elections. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

One of Estonia’s independent election coalitions, Vaba Tallinna Kodanik (VTK), has warned other independents and election coalitions on social media not to cooperate with the Free Party, accusing it of attempting to take over independent lists.

“It’s no secret that after the last Riigikogu elections, three parties lost most of their core voters’ support. This explains why the parties are alarmed by the election coalitions, and the ever greater pressure to take over at least the more important independent election coalitions,” VTK wrote.

After the parties had understood that VTK stood for a Nordic and European program fitting the 21st century to run the city, there had been more and more signals that parties were attempting to get VTK “under control”, the coalition wrote. “Those parties are the most aggressive that have the biggest credibility issues with their voters.”

The latest expression of this attempt had been the Free Party’s former chairman, Andres Herkel, saying that VTK did not sufficiently promote the members of the Free Party in Tallinn. “Even more so, Herkel threw in a threat between the lines, recommending to the party’s new chairman to ’seriously deal with the issue’,” VTK wrote.

Free Party chairman Andrus Talvik told ERR on Thursday that he didn’t understand what was going on, and did not see a reason for conflict. “Possible that Vaba Tallinna Kodanik are irritated by what someone in the Free Party said, but our position is that we don’t want to hijack anyone,” Talvik said, adding that their position was to support the independent coalitions.

Herkel called the stories of attempted take-over “not very constructive”, adding that he was ready to campaign with the independent coalitions. “Whether I’ll do this in Tallinn or somewhere else in Estonia, I can’t say right now, but Tallinn’s situation is certainly special in the sense that to break the Center Party’s power monopoly, the parties would need to cooperate to form a common election coalition,” Herkel said.

Herkel as well as Talvik and other Free Party members stressed that they would not run in the upcoming local elections. The Free Party has condemned the common practice of campaigning with ranking party members, only to then let less well-known personalities take the local seats once the elections are over.

The Free Party was recently in the media related to the issue of independent lists for the dismissal of a member who had criticized the party’s practice to support candidates with subsidies it received from the state despite their campaigning and being listed for the elections as independents.

Editor: Dario Cavegn



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