Center Party internal battle likely to continue, says academic
Center Party Chairman Edgar Savisaar has a slight advantage in the party's new leadership board, which points to internal battles set to continue, says University of Tartu political science professor Vello Pettai.
“This is one of the most equally matched party internal battles we have seen,” Pettai said, after Savisaar beat Kadri Simson to the party chairman position by 55 votes. Savisaar received the backing of 541 delegates, from 1,051.
“This shows the party is split between two great figures or schools of thought. Savisaar's task is to keep the two together and move forward,” Pettai said.
He said Savisaar's choices for deputy chairmen show that he is cementing his position. Savisaar chose Jaanus Karilaid, Siret Kotka, Olga Ivanova and Yana Toom as the new deputy chairmen. All four backed him at the recent internal elections. Simson and Enn Eesmaa were the previous deputies.
“The situation at the (party leadership) meetings will be a complicated one. Although Simson dominates in the party faction, that part of the party has now been weakened. The greatest battle will continue in the board,” he said.
Savisaar's first move will be to cement power in Tallinn, where the party has an out-right majority. Savisaar himself was suspended from the office of the mayor after being named as a suspect in a bribery case.