Savisaar running to defend position as Center Party chair
Longtime Center Party Chairman Edgar Savisaar will stand for reelection to the position at the party's extraordinary congress on Nov. 5, spokespeople for the party confirmed on Saturday.
Five other candidates have been nominated for party chairman: Jüri Ratas, Peeter Ernits, Marika-Tuus Laul, Heimar Lenk and Yana Toom.
The deadline for nominations was midnight on the night of Thursday, Oct. 28.
The 23 candidates who have agreed to run for the governing board of the Center Party are Jaak Aab, Taavi Aas, Enn Eesmaa, Peeter Ernits, Helmut Hallemaa, Olga Ivanova, Maria Jufereva, Raimond Kaljulaid, Kalev Kallo, Jaanus Karilaid, Malle Kobin, Mihhail Korb, Siret Kotka, Mihhail Kõlvart, Heimar Lenk, Oliver Liidemann, Värner Lootsmann, Kristjan Mark, Tõnis Mölder, Aadu Must, Anneli Ott, Eevi Paasmäe, Meelis Pai, Mailis Reps, Erki Savisaar, Kadri Simson, Märt Sults, Aleksandr Sirokov, Yana Toom, Elmar-Johannes Truu, Marika Tuus-Laul and Eha Võrk.
The extended board of the Center Party decided on Oct. 15 to call together an extraordinary congress of the party for Nov. 5. Altogether 1,085 delegates from all over Estonia are expected to gather at E-Piim Hall in the Central Estonian town of Paide next Saturday.
Savisaar endorsed Toom, MEP and deputy chairman of the Center Party, as would-be leader of the party in a social media posting Friday evening, saying that he was proud of Toom, who had agreed to "take the difficult job of leading the party upon herself for as long I have fully recovered." Savisaar had not mentioned in the post whether or not he would be running to defend his position as party chairman.
"On Nov. 6 I will of course continue in politics just as before; I will not abandon my team and betray my voters," he said.
Savisaar lambasted the actions of the internal opposition in the Center Party, however, including the conduct of member of the governing board Jüri Ratas, who has challenged him for chairmanship.
"This is technocratic arrogance," he wrote. "If Juri Ratas uses means like this to grab power in the party, it can be expected that he will be guided exactly by the same values when standing at the helm of the party — roadsides full of dead bodies, blinded by power, the interests of voters neglected in favor of Excel spreadsheets and promises not held. Jüri Ratas swore that he would never run against me, yet today I must again be the one who takes responsibility for fulfilling his promise. You can't go on like this very long. In politics, votes are the currency, and you can't get votes with undemocratic muscling and ideological indetermination. The people are clever; they will see through this."
Savisaar was excluded from the office of the Mayor of Tallinn by a court order issued in September 2015 within the framework of a graft investigation in which Savisaar is a suspect.