PM Candidacy Dependent on Savisaar, Says Simson
Center Party MP Kadri Simson said she is ready to lead the party at the upcoming parliamentary elections, as proposed by a few Center Party MPs, but Chairman Edgar Savisaar must first endorse her, she added.
She told ERR radio today, after Jüri Ratas nominated Simson as the party's candidate for the prime minister spot, that it is not a revolt against Savisaar, nor is it party of a cunning strategy.
“We will definitely talk to Edgar about it, once he is back in Estonia,” Simson said of Center's leader, who is on vacation abroad.
Party secretary general Priit Toobal said the party has never had a situation where the chairman does not lead at elections. IRL recently picked such a path, naming Juhan Parts as its candidate for the top post, supported by party chairman Urmas Reinsalu.
Savisaar himself said anyone can be nominated for the position, but the decision will be made at a party congress in January.
One theory is that it is indeed part of an election strategy by Center. The other three parliamentary parties have already launched their election campaigns, either announcing new high-profile party members or coming out with political promises.
Another theory is that the Ratas has made a stand in the party's internal struggles, as Center has had many internal differences since the end of last year, with many members criticizing Savisaar of being too pro-Russian during the Ukrainian conflict.
The Center Party is not new to internal conflict, losing one high-profile MP to IRL recently, which makes it a total of six defections since the last election. The party also saw both of its MEPs leave the party during the previous European Parliament term.