Kadri Simson: Center Party exodus caused by souring relations with Savisaar
Head of the Estonia Center Party faction in Parliament, Kadri Simson, said that the main reason for the high number of MPs leaving the party, six out of 26 since the last elections, is due to a breakdown in the MPs' relations with party head Edgar Savisaar.
Simson was proposed by a number of high profile Center Party members to lead the party at the upcoming parliamentary elections, but the idea was squashed by Savisaar and the party's board.
“I had a very long discussion with Edgar Savisaar. It went on for hours. There were many thoughts on the future, but also a great deal on the past,” she said on the talk she had with Savisaar shortly before her leadership aspirations were crushed.
Asked about the event in an interview with ETV's “Pealtnägija” program, Simson said that life does not always pan out ideally. “I hoped everyone would see the possibilities I saw. Maybe the disappointment lies in the fact that my powers of persuasion are not as great as I thought.”
She said no other political party has invited her to their ranks, adding that she has put more thought about becoming less involved in politics as opposed to joining another party.
Did you and Jüri Ratas (who proposed Simson as PM candidate) decide not to leave the Center Party as it would have turned it into a Russian party?
“I think it is very important that the Center Party has Estonian support. It helps to keep balance and is very important for the Estonian state. Why didn't I leave? Why should I leave? The party grew out of the Popular Front of Estonia and I have been a member for 19 years,” she said.
Was that the last attempt to change the leadership culture in the Center Party from inside?
“That process is always in the works. I have talked to a few people who have left the Center Party and joined another party. They say that from inside, it looks like it would be much better elsewhere than in the Center Party, but when you sign up for another party, you discover that some questions are dealt with more democratically in the Center Party.” Simson said.
Why have so many MPs left the Center Party?
“Everyone has their reasons. Often personal relations sour,” Simson said, adding that many left on her watch, as the head of the faction, adding that she got along well with the six MPs who left.
When asked about the cooperation agreement with United Russia, Vladimir Putin's party, Simson said she was party secretary general at the time, but refused to sign. “It (the treaty) does not have a physical outlet, for years we have not taken part of any United Russia congresses. I dare to say it has been frozen.”
Do you view Estonia differently to Savisaar?
“I want to focus on a longer perspective. I have an eye on the upcoming elections and will see if changes arise or not. But 2019 and 2023 elections, and so forth, are also important to me,” she said.
“I think Savisaar has been a very distinguished politician. But currently, he is carrying a great burden as the mayor of Tallinn. I deal with primarily state matters,” said Simson.