Center Party Pol: IRL Minister's Attack Driven Only by Partisan Fears
Kalle Klandorf, one of Tallinn's deputy mayors and a leading Center Party official, said that comments made by IRL head and Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu belied a fear of losing domestic political ground.
"His rash, desultory behaviour and talk of the new party possibly being created as his own partner shows that IRL is on unstable footing in the Cabinet," Klandorf told uudised.err.ee.
Klandorf said Reinsalu also anticipated less than favorable returns at the general election, which would put his own job at the helm of the national conservative IRL at risk.
"[Eerik-Niiles] Kross is his toughest rival. He is both IRL's great fortune and yet the nemesis for Reinsalu and [Interior Minister Ken-Marti] Vaher," said Klandorf.
Responding to the content of Reinsalu's claims, which were that the Center Party would be harmful to Estonia's national interests, Klandorf mentioned the residence permit scandal where IRL politicians arranged Schengen visas at a time when IRL politicians headed the two ministries involved in increasing immigration quotas for non-EU businessmen. No direct collusion was ever proved.
"As for the Center Party," said Klandorf, "it's a party that evolved out of the Popular Front, which brought Estonia regained independence and it stands for national interests more than all other parties combined. We work hard every day to make Estonia a good, secure place to live."
While Center claims its predecessor was most in touch with the hearts and minds of the people during the restoration of independence movement, IRL often takes credit for spearheading the country's return to the rule of law, framing the Constitution and core legislation, such as the Citizenship Act.
Early in the 1990s, various politicians associated with the Center Party voiced support for the idea of giving all inhabitants of Estonia automatic citizenship, and the party continues to poll disproportionately strongly among ethnic Russian voters.