Tsahkna wants to reshape IRL, rename party 'Fatherland'
Speaking at a public party council meeting in Tartu on Sunday, Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) Chairman Margus Tsahkna proposed making changes to the party at its next convention, including using the name 'Fatherland' going forward.
Tsahkna clarified that this was not an attempt to restore either the Pro Patria Union or Res Publica Party, the two parties whose 2006 merger formed today's IRL, but rather his proposal to move forward as the Fatherland Party.
"To go forward into the next, logical phase and shape the face of the future Estonia through the big decisions for which we were created," explained the party chairman. "This is not a regular brand change but our message that we have changed and are ready to decide."
According to Tsahkna, today's government is turning into a source of stagnation. "Such fine-tuning must end," he continued. "Fatherland — this means to control one's own destiny and make brave decisions oneself regarding one's own destiny."
The party chairman also read aloud the Fatherland Manifesto, in which he noted that Estonia was at a standstill and acknowledged the role played by IRL in this. Progress, in his opinion, should come from the new life breathed into Fatherland.
"We will boldly voice those things based on our values and in the government we will likewise bring perhaps sore but in the long run very important subjects to the table, whether we are talking about pension reform, parental support reform or tax policy," said Tsahkna.
Politican scientist: Name change could be good thing
According to political scientist Vello Pettai, the manifesto was in some respects a return to the golden era of the Pro Patria Union in the 90s. On the other hand, however, he found that the party was trying to find new content within the political landscape, describing the current situation as stagnation from which Fatherland could help rescue the people.
Pettai pointed out that there were previous historical cases of a name change proving beneficial for a party.
"We know that the [People's Party] Moderates became the Social Democratic Party (SDE) and this helped them to better position themselves," recalled the political scientist. "Perhaps a return to the Fatherland will also be that which then gives the party such self-confidence, which it may also desperately need, in order to make a breakthrough in politics and be confident in their place and their convictions."
Pettai did not find that there would be an issue with dropping the Res Publica half of the party's name, as any friction between the party's different wings was history and a clearer image would benefit the entire party going forward.