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People's Union Becomes 'Conservative People's Party'

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The People's Union ditched its old name over the weekend, at a party convention at its new headquarters in Põltsamaa, opting for the “Conservative People's Party.”

Officials have said that the new name solidifies the party's national conservative identity, replacing the old image of regional party, which has outlived its usefulness as populations continue to flow out of the countryside.

Former president Arnold Rüütel, the party's honorary chair, supported the name change. “I think the new name better characterizes the activities and principles of the party,” Rüütel told ERR radio.

Once having the largest membership of any political party in Estonia, the People's Union was in government with the center-right and pro-business Coalition Party in the 1990s.

After leadership scandals and financial trouble, the party saw its ranks fall to fourth in 2011, with 1,900 members defecting since last year's parliamentary elections where the People's Union failed to make the 5 percent threshold. Percentages in popularity polls have been in the low single-digit figures.

At the convention, party leaders also adopted a new program and bylaws, and re-elected chairman Margo Miljand, who has vowed to free the party of debt and improve the work of rural organizations.


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