Center's Ratas Says Would Take Seat in EP If Elected (1)
With the exception of Tallinn mayor Edgar Savisaar and MP Mailis Reps, all Center Party members running for the European Parliament plan to take up their seats.
Savisaar, who will likely be elected, said in April that he doesn't plan to take up his seat.
Jüri Ratas, second after Savisaar in the party's list of candidates, plans to become an MEP if he is elected. A perennial also-ran, he served as the mayor from 2005 to 2007 and is now one of the two deputy speakers of parliament. He also ran against Savisaar for the position of party chairman in 2011 on the platform that promised to bring the party out of isolation. He lost to Savisaar but pulled in a considerable number of delegate votes.
MP Mihhail Stalnuhhin, third on the list, also plans to go to the parliament and use his nine years of experience as the head of the Narva City Council. Stalnuhhin was named, along with two other Center Party officials, in the yearbook of the Internal Security Service (ISS) in connection with attempts by the Russian Federation to work against the transition to Estonian as the language in 60 percent of upper secondary schools. Stalnuhhin protested the mention of his name in the book in court and the case is currently in a lower court. He was also the only MP to vote against a statement adopted by the parliament recently in support of Ukraine's territorial integrity.
The party's vice chairmen Kadri Simson and Enn Eesmaa confirmed they will make the move to the European Parliament if elected.
Aadu Must said it likely that he will go into the EP after the 2015 parliamentary elections in Estonia, when the Center Party has recalled Ratas, who, he said, will be needed for forming a strong government.