Savisaar agrees to extraordinary Center Party congress
Chairman of the Center Party and suspended mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar agreed to an extraordinary party congress on Wednesday. Recent developments in the party have fuelled speculations that MPs Kadri Simson and Jüri Ratas are planning to run for the chairmanship against Savisaar.
Earlier this week on Monday Savisaar told the party’s deputy chairman, Jaanus Karilaid, that he didn’t see it necessary to call an extraordinary congress.
It has been less than a year since the Center Party’s last congress, but several members of the leadership as well as Center’s parliamentary group consider an extraordinary meeting necessary to adopt new statutes and potentially elect a new chairman.
The debate around the party’s statutes was sparked by a letter of guarantee issued by then secretary general Priit Toobal. Toobal, who has since left politics, signed a guarantee in the amount of €450,000 for Midfield, a communication firm run by Paavo Pettai that has drawn up campaigns for the party.
The remainder of the leadership wasn’t made aware of the letter, and the ensuing question whether or not the secretary general or any single member of the leadership was competent to issue such a guarantee led to the call for changed statutes.
If an extraordinary congress should assemble, the widely held expectation is that either Jüri Ratas or Kadri Simson would run against Savisaar for the chairmanship.
Savisaar wrote in Wednesday’s issue of party paper “Kesknädal” that if Jüri Ratas or Kadri Simson wished to run for his position, they should be given the chance, though he would expect them to clearly say so and present their own vision of the future of the Center Party.
Karilaid said that he welcomed Savisaar’s change of mind, and that the party would discuss the matter in detail after the presidential election on Sept. 24. The extraordinary congress could take place before the end of the year, he added.