Centre MPs Ditch Faction, No Plans to Join New Party
Having abandoned the Centre Party shortly beforehand, four MPs also disbanded from their ex-party's faction in Parliament today.
The departure leaves the Centre Party with 21 MPs, demoting it from the second to third largest party in Parliament. Four other prominent members left the party on Monday, including two MEPs and two party board members.
The eight acted in protest to the expulsion in March of fellow MP Kalle Laanet for his criticism in the media of the party. That incident has been called an “undemocratic” tactic to muffle criticism of party leadership within the party.
"Our party's policy is that we should shut up. But we will not shut up because the people have not elected us into Parliament so that we can keep our mouths shut,” said one of the defectors, Rainer Vakra. "We had no other choice [but to leave] because Laanet has taken on a symbolic meaning. In Laanet's place, it could have been Kaljuvee, Luigas, Boroditsh or Vakra."
Vakra had also been called up by the party's honorary court for criticism of the party. Unlike Laanet, he was let off with an embarrasing punishment - the Parliament member was given a “mentor.” "I believe I was elected into office as Rainer Vakra, not Rainer Vakra and his mentor," he said.
None of the five MPs have announced plans to join any other party.
"Those who stepped out of the door today have vowed to put their heads together and stand as a united team to represent our ideas. What comes next is a question for the future for which we do not yet have answers,” said Vakra.
Meanwhile, the head of Centre Party faction in Parliament, Kadri Simson, called for the two defected MEPs to leave their posts. After the decision of Siiri Oviir and Vilja Savisaar-Toomast to leave the party, there are now no Centre Party representatives left in the European Parliament.