Daily: IRL in internal battle between Res Publica heavyweights
Eesti Päevaleht writes that IRL is engulfed in a bitter internal feud, and not between the Pro Patria-Res Publica lines, but between former Res Publica heavyweights.
Many who previously backed the Urmas Reinsalu – Juhan Parts – Ken-Marti Vaher line, all previous Res Publica members dubbed the "boy band", have become disillusioned with them, especially after the disastrous election results where the party lost votes to the Reform Party, the Free Party and EKRE.
While the three were trying to hold on to power in the party, many began to back Tõnis Palts instead. The daily writes that many saw him as the man to bring changes to IRL, but shortly before internal leadership elections in May, his backers brought in dozens of new members with criminal pasts, opening up a scandal. That scandal ended his chances to claim the top job in the party. Palts is also a former Res Publica member.
According to the daily, Palts is backed by the youth wing of the party and MPs Marko Mihkelson, Priit Sibul and Raivo Aeg, while the "boy band" is supported by Viktoria Ladõnskaja, Siim Kiisler and Aivar Kokk. Kaia Iva, Tunne Kelam, Mart Nutt and Helir-Valdor Seeder are sticking behind the more neutral Margus Tsahkna.
The daily also says that new chairman Tsahkna has been unable to unite the party and resembles more a referee rather than a key member.
IRL held internal elections at the beginning of June, with Tsahkna winning by a wide margin over Jaan Männik, who is not a party member.
IRL's leadership is due to meet today to discuss proposals made by the Social Democrats to the coalition agreement. The board will also discuss the findings of a court of honor, which investigated the new members scandal, and found Palts had acted against party principles.
IRL won 14 seats at the March 1 elections, nine fewer than four years ago. The party took in only 13.7 percent of the votes, far fewer than the 20.5 percent in 2011.