The boards of the Estonian Free Party and Richness of Life during negotiations reached a memorandum of understanding in which members are presented with a proposal to form a new party on the basis of the two parties.
"Last week, we presented to the members for review and discussion a document in which the common important principles were described on the basis of the programs of the two parties. This week, we are waiting for questions and will summarize the discussion at the end of the week," Rainer Kuuba, Richness of Life's head of negotiations, said in a press release.
"We will then put the memorandum to a vote by the members as soon as possible, and if a positive decision is made, we can take the next steps. It was somewhat surprising to us how much similarity there was between our platforms and how little contradiction, so it makes perfect sense to unite the two parties into a greater force for nature and democracy," Kuuba added.
"In this case, the merging of parties does not involve taking over or swallowing one, two political parties of equal size and with a very similar worldview are to be merged," Free Party board chair Heiki Lill said. "Should this process be completed, a new party will be born, which already has around a thousand members and which will also better cover the country geographically, which, in turn, will create good advantages for next year's local government council elections," he added.
"The merging of political parties will not be a very quick process as, according to the law, all decisions must be approved by the general assemblies of both parties, for which we must have at least one month's notice to convene, and the restrictions meanwhile imposed have also postponed these meetings. We are talking about mid-July, at best. But haste makes waste and we are not in a hurry at the moment. Both parties are continuing to operate in their own right at present as well," Lill said.
"A party is just a tool for doing politics. There is no point in maintaining a grip on its legal body or name at all costs. In the Riigikogu elections, we realized that we needed more active members, which is why we started consultations with other non-parliamentary parties last fall in order to map common ground," Richness of Life board member Lauri Tõnspoeg said.
"It soon became clear that we had the most in common with the Free Party and that some others were clinging to their party, not focusing on achieving the set goals. In today's political climate, new forces are urgently needed to save our living environment and forests from the clutches of money-hungry cartel parties. The platform of Richness of Life already anticipated future crises and offered solutions to minimize their damage," he added.
According to Tõnspoeg, the first crisis came in the form of a virus, but the economic crisis is just beginning and environmental crises, migration crises and much more lie ahead. "By acting wisely, we as a nation can cope with them with as few losses as possible, but this requires working together for common goals, and the merging of these two parties is our next step in the right direction," he added.
If the members of the political parties approve the merger plan, the name of the new party will be chosen by the members of both parties and the boards will prepare a merger agreement, which, in turn, must be approved by the members. The more specific platform of the new party will then be drawn up by the members of both parties together.
Editor: Anders Nõmm