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Centre Expels MP for Criticism of Party Leaders

Kalle Laanet
Kalle Laanet Source: Photo: Scanpix/Postimees

The Centre Party has purged its ranks of an MP it said harmed the image of party leaders in comments to the media.

The board of the opposition party met on March 19 to discuss disciplinary punishments for Kalle Laanet and Rainer Vakra and decided to expel Laanet while reprimanding Vakra.

The same recommendations had been made by the party's court of honor.

Laanet has been an outspoken critic of longtime party chairman Edgar Savisaar and had recently called for harsher sanctions against two Centre MPs being investigated in a criminal probe.

"It was a difficult decision to expel Laanet but the only possible one," said party chairman Edgar Savisaar in Postimees. "I am quite sorry that Laanet is now out of the party, but he chose that path himself."

Laanet, who said he would continue in Parliament, either in the faction or as an independent, said after the vote that the party was on the wrong track. "Unfortunately the party did not choose honesty and candidness but voted for the continuing of waffling and half-truths," said Laanet.

There was no immediate word of defections following the expulsion.

The vote on the question of expelling Laanet was nine in favor to five against and two neutral.

The board also met to discuss possible punishments for Priit Toobal, the secretary general who is being criminally investigated for being in possession of another official's e-mails. Savisaar said Toobal had been given a verbal reprimand.

"Toobal's attention was drawn to the fact that there were certain papers in the party's office that should not have been there," Savisaar said.

The board did not discuss the matter of Lauri Laasi, another MP suspected of inciting a Centre Party member to obtain the e-mail through illegal or dubious means. It said it was too early to do so, as he was under suspicion and had not been accused. 

Kristopher Rikken

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