The Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) is meeting on Saturday to elect a new chairman. Candidates are deputy president of the Riigikogu, Helir-Valdor Seeder, and Minister of Social Protection Kaia Iva.
While Iva is seen as a potential leader that could open up the party and give it a somewhat more current image, Seeder stands for its national-conservative ring. The two candidates agree on the party’s positions in terms of values and family policy, i.e. both are against the Registered Partnership Act. Seeder has repeatedly said that he is also against the ratification of the border treaty with Russia.
Chairman of the party’s Tallinn section, Siim-Valmar Kiisler, told ERR that it would be expected of the party’s new leader to clearly define the different areas of the leadership, and to then set out what the direction was going to be in the near future.
If this meant that certain topics would need to be discussed with the other parties in the coalition, then so be it, Kiisler added.
In the recent past IRL in its current form has found it impossible to get its ratings out of the doldrums. In a survey commissioned by ERR that was published earlier this week, the party dropped below the 5-percent threshold, which means that if elections were to be held right now, it likely wouldn’t make it into parliament anymore.
The party’s extraordinary congress was called after an attempt by outgoing chairman Margus Tsahkna to get it to adopt changes to its internal procedures. Tsahkna’s proposals would have amended the party statutes and, among other things, made party’s election procedures more straightforward.
Tsahkna demanded that the next chairman be elected after the statutes are changed. The leadership decided against supporting Tsahkna’s proposal, after which he declared that if there was no change in the party, it didn’t matter who run it. Tsahkna has said he will remain in the party and its parliamentary group, but won’t run for its leadership anymore.
Several prominent party members, the chairman of it’s parliamentary group, Priiit Sibul among them, have said that IRL had not managed to explain its plans for the Estonian state and economy to the voters. Another thing that kept dragging the party down in the ratings was that internal conflicts were settled in public, Sibul said.
Editor: Dario Cavegn