Center Party Expulsions Include Former Mayor Who Joined Whistleblowers
Among 70 others purged from the Center Party yesterday was longtime member and former Pärnu mayor Mart Viisitamm, who was in the news yesterday for joining those accusing one of the party's top officials of laundering cash into the party's budget.
It was reported in September that the party was planning to expel all members attempting to boost their chances in the election by running in the ranks of election coalitions, the candidate unions formed solely for the elections, as opposed to their own party.
"The reason [for the expulsion] is the same as with the other people who were thrown out. He decided to run in Pärnu on an election coalition list, even though there is a Center Party there," Center Party press representative Taavi Pukk told uudised.err.ee.
A Center Party member since 1999, Viisitamm is running for city council in the election coalition Südame ja Mõistusega (With Heart and Mind).
In an article published yesterday, the former leading party member confessed to helping the Center Party launder funds, and accused the party's deputy chair, MP Kadri Simson, of doing the same. Today, he further described alleged funding violations, casting suspicion on an advertising firm that has long been suspected of helping the party funnel money.
Simson, accused of wrongdoing by other former party members as well, has denied Viisitamm's claims.
"Three springs ago, I took over leadership from Viisitamm in the party's Pärnu district. I had to repair the confusion left behind by him in the district's budget and have ever since been victim to his smears," Simson said in a press release.