Reinsalu, Kross to Lead IRL
Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu has been unanimously re-elected to chair IRL at its weekend congress, with Eerik-Niiles Kross replacing Margus Tsahkna as a vice-chairman.
Reinsalu, as the lone candidate for the party's top post, received just over 1,000 votes, Juhan Parts, the economic minister, received 352 votes. Kross received 277. Parliament Speaker Ene Ergma, the third and last vice-chairman of the party, received 265 votes at the congress on Saturday, the party said.
Kross had been discussed as a possible new leader of the party, having led a vocal, yet ultimately unsuccessful charge on the municipal Tallinn government during the recent local elections. Kross said in mid-January that he will not challenge Reinsalu's leadership.
Jaak Aaviksoo, the education minister, was the first to miss out, collecting 119 votes.
Tsahkna moved one level down to take a seat at the 20-member board, which was also elected on Saturday.
IRL is the nation's third largest party, with close to 10,000 members. The Center Party has over 14,000, the Reform Party 13,000 and the Social Democrats 6,200. Outside the Parliament, only the Conservative People's Party has a comparable membership, with nearly 8,000.