Short time between nominations and elections will make joining Reform Party leadership difficult for newcomers (3)
Front runners Kristen Michal and Hanno Pevkur both had good chances to become the party’s next chairman, but it would be difficult for party members outside its established elite to get elected to its leadership, both Kaja Kallas and Meelis Atonen agree.
Both Kristen Michal and Hanno Pevkur, currently the two candidates for the chairmanship of the opposition Reform Party, had a chance to win the election, Meelis Atonen, one of the founding members of the party, told ERR.
“Hanno Pevkur has a little bit more support in the regions, Kristen Michal in Tallinn. Time will tell who can win this,” Atonen said, adding that personally, he would support Pevkur.
Daily Postimees had reported in its Friday issue that 50 members of the party, including former chairmen Andrus Ansip and Taavi Rõivas, had thrown their support behind Michal, the new chairman of Reform’s parliamentary group and its former minister of economic affairs and infrastructure.
Hanno Pevkur is deputy chairman of the Reform Party, and the previous government’s minister of the interior.
Estonian MEP Kaja Kallas, one of the party’s most popular politicians, meanwhile told BNS on Thursday that she preferred the job to go to Pevkur, and criticized the short time until the election, as it didn’t allow enough time for debate.
Kallas also hinted in an interview with ERR on Friday that in her view, Michal had begun preparations for taking over the post of chairman of the party already before Taavi Rõivas announced his resignation.
Candidates for the election can be nominated until Dec. 19. The election will be held on Jan. 7.
Atonen: Short time not a problem
“I think the situation when it comes to electing the chairman is relatively even this time, because both are active politicians,” Atonen told ERR. He admitted that the short time left between the nomination of candidates and the vote may prove a problem for new people running for seats on the party’s leadership.
Taavi Rõivas, whom the parliament ousted from the post of prime minister in a no confidence vote in November, announced on Monday that he would resign as chairman of the Reform Party at the end of the year. The announcement came less than two weeks after the new three-party coalition government of the Center Party.