Two and a half months after the party congress that re-elected Edgar Savisaar as its leader, the Center Party is gearing up to show those who didn't support him their place, daily Postimees reported on Thursday.
Savisaar first turned his eyes on Narva, which had thrown its weight behind Kadri Simson, who competed with him for the leadership of the party. A week ago he showed his support for MEP Yana Toom in the election for the head of the party’s local section. Toom won with 200 votes, against 14 given to rival candidate Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Postimees said.
In Kohtla-Järve, Savisaar apparently spread the message among the local section that there was no point directing concerns to local chairman Valeri Korb. Instead, people should turn to Savisaar himself, or then talk to Yana Toom.
Korb, just like Stalnuhhin, had been one of the regional leaders of the Center Party who joined the Simson camp.
A purge is also in store for Tartu, a section led for a long time by Savisaar's close friend and ally Aadu Must. As Postimees learned, Savisaar now entrusted this party fortress to Oudekki Loone, a rising star in its ranks.
Members of the Tartu section of Center speaking to Postimees were sure that Savisaar was going to show up in person in Tartu to influence the vote.
The northern town of Sillamäe is also faced with an overhaul of the Center Party's top brass, the newspaper reported. Also, there will be changes in the lineup of the section in Valga, and it seems that who should lead the Võru section in the South-East will also be subject to a review.
Postimees said that the replacement of former favorites with new people was taking place on a broad front. Savisaar is installing people whose loyalty he can be certain of, and getting rid of former intimates he doesn’t trust anymore.
For instance, several reasons are being cited for the dismissal on Wednesday of City District Elder Karin Tammemäe of Põhja-Tallinn, the most interesting being that one of her deputies, Priit Kutser, had been in close contact with Savisaar of late to tell on his boss.
Contacted by the Postimees on Wednesday evening, the party's secretary general Priit Toobal said that “the leaders of sections who can’t win local elections must be replaced. No matter whether they support Savisaar or Simson."
Next month the Riigikogu will elect its President as well as their deputies. At the same time, the parties will hold votes on their parliamentary party chairmen. Rumor has it that twi MPs of the Center Party’s Savisaar camp, Jaanus Karilaid and Siret Kotka, are eyeing at the position, currently held by Kadri Simson.
Simson meanwhile is confident that she will keep her job. "Yes, I have said that I will go on as leader of the parliamentary group. I find that our parliamentary group has been working effectively, which is demonstrated by the number of bills initiated by us," Simson told Postimees on the sidelines of a meeting in Sillamäe on Wednesday. "I believe that I have enough support in the parliamentary party to continue as its leader."
Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn