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Tsahkna named IRL chairman, pledges to unite party

Margus Tsahkna, the Social Protection Minister, was voted the next IRL head, saying after the vote that it is time to unite the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union fractions.

Tsahkna collected 685 votes to Jaan Männik's 210 at a party congress on Saturday. The new head, 38, said he wants to restore IRL's image and former values, which he said are striving towards a modern nation state, open economic policy, and very clear language, citizenship and immigration policies.

“The lines are certainly no longer drawn between Pro Patria and Res Publica Union, but between people who believe the party has a future, and those who have, repeatedly, used unjust methods and manipulations," Tsahkna said.

He added that the names of those who have used unethical means are known to him and the party's new court of honor will deal with them.

Tsahkna joined the Pro Patria side of the union in 2000, becoming the head of the party's youth wing. He has been an MP since 2007 and became a Cabinet minister after the 2015 elections, in which the party lost a third of their seats compared to 2011.

Pro Patria (Isamaaliit) and Res Publica Union merged in 2006, a move which has caused internal strife ever since, including a number of members breaking away last year to form the Free Party.

At Saturday's congress, Marko Mihkelson, Kaia Iva and Siim Kiisler were named deputy heads.

In recent weeks, the Reform Party and the Free Party chose to stick with their current heads. The Center Party decided to continue with Kadri Simson as its acting head until Edgar Savisaar recuperates and the Social Democrats voted Jevgeni Ossinovski as chairman.

Editor: J.M. Laats

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