Prominent AIDS fighter leaves IRL
Nelli Kalikova, a prominent doctor, anti drug abuse and anti AIDS activist and politician, quit the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), Postimees Online reported on Friday.
"I regret that I had to leave - it was not an easy decision," Kalikova, a member of the Riigikogu between 2003 and 2007, said.
Kalikova said that when she joined Res Publica in 2002 it had been a progressive party with clear aims, but that to her the party began to lose its face after interests to merge with other parties surfaced.
The latest decisions of the party formed by Res Publica's merger with the Pro Patria Union in 2006 have not sat well with Kalikova's principles. The last straw was IRL presidential candidate Allar Jõks' campaign against the AIDS and drug abuse support center. "He says he's protecting the people's interests. He's not my president, as the president has to protect the interests of all the people," Kalikova said.
Asked whether she would join another party, Kalikova said she would rather withdraw from politics.
Kalikova was a member of IRL and its precursor for 14 years. She is the second prominent member leaving the party in a short period, after former President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma left IRL last month.
“IRL is comprised of quite wonderful people, but in my opinion, its leadership has lost its spine, and it’s a shame if they aren’t capable of finding it again,” Ergma said. “I’m terribly sorry that things have gone this way, but I can’t blame myself for leaving.” The former Riigikogu president noted that she had repeatedly tried to point out things that [the party] shouldn’t do or advertise, but her warnings went unheeded.
“For example, during European Parliament elections, IRL’s slogan was ‘Fighting corruption in the EU,’” recalled Ergma. “As a scientist, this was nonsense to me. But everyone was amazed that it went over so well in the municipal elections in Tallinn. There was a specific person in the local elections who had once been suspected of corruption, so it worked there, but this does not work in the EU.”
From 2003-2006, Ergma served as the President of the Riigikogu. From 2006-2007 she served as its Vice-President, after which she was once again elected as President of the Riigikogu, a role in which she then served from 2007-2014. In 2007 and 2012, she was also elected Vice-Chairman of IRL.