Coalition partners: Criminal charges problem of Center Party, not coalition (1)
The Center Party’s partners in the new government coalition, the Social Democrats (SDE) and the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL), said in reaction to the criminal charges facing the Center Party that these were the legacy of former chairman Edgar Savisaar.
Daily Postimees wrote on Wednesday that according to Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt (SDE), the charges were to be expected. The chairmen of the coalition parties would certainly discuss the matter, and it was up to the Center Party now to explain and see to it that the matter was settled.
Anvelt said that the Center Party of the past needed to be seen separately from that of today, and that this was necessary both in terms of its personalities as well as its actions. “The members of today’s government, and the current chairman of the Center Party have very clear positions on their party’s earlier actions,” Anvelt told the paper.
IRL’s secretary general, Kert Karus, said that though his party understandably wasn’t happy, this was a question that the Center Party needed to resolve, not the coalition. “The problem is with the Center Party and Edgar Savisaar,” Karus said.
Ratas: Center Party will accept court ruling
The Center Party wished to find a solution in the case, Ratas said. If that solution was that the party should carry the costs, then it would do that. “The whole case needs to be a lesson for the future for the party and its current leadership,” Ratas added.
For any party in the Riigikogu and the government, being involved in a criminal case was a serious issue, Ratas said. “The party needs to offer explanations, and if necessary defend itself. One thing is clear, the Center Party doesn’t need to be a party that writes to its lawyers every day, or fight the Estonian state in court. The way I see it, the Center Party needs to be a regular not-for-profit that represents political views and fights for its platform and ideas,” he added.
The Center Party as a legal person is facing charges in the case of illegal political donations accepted by its former chairman, Edgar Savisaar. The amount in question is €275,000.