Over 5,000 people turn up for Savisaar’s ‘open doors day’
Estonian opposition leader and suspended Tallinn mayor Edgar Savisaar welcomed visitors at his home farm Hundisilma on Sunday.
“Bring along a positive energy that was taken away from this farm by KaPo (the Estonian Internal Security Service). Just like the support from kind people helped me to overcome my serious illness, I hope now that the good energy by supporters will help to get rid of the negative marks left by uninvited guests,” Savisaar said in the invitation, published by Tallinn City Government's taxpayer-funded paper Pealinn (Capital), last week. He referred to recent search by KaPo at his home, following the bribery investigations.
Over 5,000 people, mainly elderly, didn’t wait to be invited twice and turned up at the home farm of disgruntled political heavyweight of Estonian politics, on an otherwise grey and wintery Sunday.
People, who decided to drive up to the countryside farm, about 100 kilometers from Tallinn, were greeted by the owner himself, who signed postcards as much as he could. People were kept warm by a bowl of soup and entertained by a band.
At some point, there were so many visitors that the original idea of letting everyone have a look around at the proprietor’s living quarters seemed to get out of hand, forcing the Center Party activists to organize an orderly queue, while urging people “not to spend too long at the house.”
Savisaar was also asked about competing against Kadri Simson for the Center Party leadership, but he appeared to brush aside any rift, or indeed, concern that he might lose. “Over 10 local branches out of 20 have proposed me as the next party leader, and this tally is increasing,” he said, adding that the fact that Center Party has more than one candidate for the chairman position “indicates democracy.”
Kadri Simson, head of the Center Party faction in the Estonian Parliament, gave her consent to stand for the party's chairman position on Friday. She has been party member for 20 years and as a daughter of Savisaar’s life-long friend, historian Aadu Must, has known the party founder for all her life.
Savisaar, Tallinn mayor since 2007, and widely accepted as an opposition leader in Estonia, was named suspect in four episodes of corruption on September 22 and suspended from mayor's office, pending investigation, on September 30 by the Harju County Court. He has so far rejected all the accusations against him.
Following the suspension, some former Center Party members said that from now on, the capital of Estonia will be governed from Savisaar's Hundisilma farm, which is at the Vihula Parish, 100 kilometers from Tallinn.