Reform Says No to Re-Vote, Commits to Overhaul of Party Election System
Meeting in Tallinn Saturday, the Reform Party council decided that the board re-elected last month is legitimate, despite accusations of vote-rigging, and that there will be no repeat vote at a plenary session in December.
"The Reform Party apologizes for the acts of now-expelled Kristiina Ojuland and other people. The 71 people whose names were misused as well as all 1,494 members voting were the victims of this fraud," said the chairman of the party council, Kristen Michal.
He said the issue had been dealt with adequately through the expulsions. "It was a quick and clear decision," said Michal. "Now we will review our internal voting system and legal system."
The council also decided on Saturday that in-house voting security standards must be raised, based on the recommendations of an ad hoc working group. "In the future, voting will be only with ID card and mobile ID," said Michal.
Michal said all systems were go for preparations for the European parliament elections, the next major test after October's local elections. "Before candidates are selected in early 2014 for the European Parliament elections, we need to resolve technical questions and audit the system," he said.
As far as coalition partner IRL is concerned, there was no indication from the council that comments made by veteran IRL politician Mart Laar - expressing embarrassment over the Reform Party's scandals - had left a lasting sting. The council said it was committed to continuing to work with IRL in the coalition.
In a reaction to the Reform Party council meeting decision, political scientist Tõnis Saarts wrote in uudised.err.ee that it was the rational choice but not one likely to placate the public. "From the perspective of the party's leaders, the arguments against a re-vote outweigh the arguments in favour, But the decision also shows that Reform is not exactly a party with social sensitivity or one strongly committed to the rules of play of democracy," he said.